Posts Tagged ‘fire’

Wow things were really heating up in Central Park this week.  Look what was going on at the Band Shell in the park.  Costumed performers were really playing with fire!

HOT Javelin Thrower

HOT Javelin Thrower

Balancing The Burn

Balancing The Burn

One Hot Hula Hoop

One Hot Hula Hoop

Face Afire

Face Afire

Climbing The Walls

Climbing the Walls

All photos courtesy of Murray Head

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Many Grovers were out in the wee hours of this morning taking photos.   Blogfinger is a popular locally focused blog site and several residents contributed photos and comments about the horrific fire this morning that robbed this Historic Landmark that we live in, of several historic Victorian homes.  The photos are all far better than mine and I would like to share them with my readers. Please  click the link below.

Massive Blaze Destroys Eight Buildings on Surf and Atlantic Avenues, Including Vacant Former Hotel

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It’s still dark, the phone is ringing?? It’s 5:30am! WTF? It’s Susan and from her voice I can tell she is upset.  FIRE!! Oh no, not again…just like last March.  She can’t tell where it is but the fire engines are going north on Central Ave.  I jump out of bed, and look out the door of the guest room and there it is-an eerie orange glow in the northern sky.  I’m going. Dress quickly, grab camera, license, gloves, hat, rain boots, car keys (I forgot my house keys).  Later I realized I didn’t have a lens in or a pair of glasses.  I drove up Broadway to Ocean Ave and went North to Ocean Pathway.  I parked the car in front of the Pavillion because I knew the police wouldn’t let me go any further.

I walked to Surf Avenue and saw the flames engulfing whatever fuel their greedy fingers could reach.   The fire apparently started in a construction site where a former boarding house stood and was in the process of being rebuilt as condos.  But in Ocean Grove, fire never stops where it starts.  Already the house to the west had flames shooting out of the roof.   The police tape was up so I could only get so close but clearly the fire had already jumped to the next street to the north-Atlantic Avenue.  Just like last year, the wind sent sparks flying and fanned the flames so they were able to leap to the houses behind the site.

People were gathering quickly, word of a fire in the Grove spreads as quickly as the fire does.   I watched a man try to get across the street – later I spoke to him and one of the houses that were being “streamed” with water simultaneously while the firemen valiantly tried to control the blaze or blazes as now there were at least 4 houses on fire.

I focused on this little bungalow thinking it would survive but then smoke started to seep out of the dormer.  OH GOD!!! I don’t think anyone had been in that house and I thought how devastating it would be to find out that the little cottage you left during the week or winter would be gone AND everything in it 😦  The bungalow was all that was left between the fire and the house of the man I met on the sidewalk.   The firemen were soaking his house from the front and the back as he paced back and forth but basically remained calm and resolute.

I imagined myself in hysterics jumping up and down in his place.  We have so many one of a kind collectibles in the cottage and worse yet the cats.   Cats are not like dogs who would follow you, come to you or bolt out-no cats would hide under the bed amidst the “stuff” stored there and you wouldn’t be able to get them out easily and quickly and unfortunately quickly is the key word in a town of wooden houses.  As far as I know, all animals got out, all the people got out although one elderly gentlemen was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.

Surf Avenue, Ocean Grove, fire,

Fire Before the Dawn

Surf Avenue, Ocean Grove, construction site blaze

Surf Avenue Blaze

Atlantic Avenue, Ocean Grove

Atlantic Avenue Houses are Destroyed

the bungalow, Surf Avenue, Ocean Grove, NJ

Trying to save the Bungalow

streaming, crane, Atlantic Avenue

Streaming the gold house from behind

I got to the fire about 5:45am and the fires were roaring;  I left about 7am and now it’s 10:30am-some fire trucks have just gone west on Broadway, several flatbed trucks and pick-up trucks have gone east on Broadway which makes me think that some clean up is taking place.   In about an hour I have to pick up Peter and we will go by the site or as close as we can get and I hope to post “the remains of the day”.

My thoughts and prayers are with my neighbors who lost so much today.  I may not live next door to them…however, this is a small community and one person’s loss is felt by all.  The temporary shelter is up and running;  Susan brought dog food and leashes and I contributed kitty litter.  I’m so sad over this destruction-every historic home lost in this little community cannot be replaced.  The very charm of Ocean Grove lies in its Victorian cottages and of course its community.  And every time there is a fire, the phrase, “…there but for the grace of God…” comes to mind.



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5:00 am – still snuggled under covers, we hear sirens wailing down Broadway.

6:15am – my cell phone rings downstairs and I don’t get to it in time.  Look at the missed call and it was Susan.  Call her back – she is yelling into her cell phone over the roar of the wind and called to tell me that the Manchester Inn burned down and several houses were burning too.  In two minutes I know I ‘m not going back to sleep and I tell Peter I’m going.  He really doesn’t want to get up but doesn’t want me to go alone.  So believe it or not (and those of you who know us, know….) we got up, threw on some clothes and drove over to Main Avenue.  Stepping out of the car we were hit by the smell of the smoke.  And looking farther west down Main we could see a wall of smoke that extended from the fire on Ocean Pathway to Main Avenue  We left the car in front of the Hardware Store and made our way down Pilgrim Pathway.  There were orange cones on Ocean Avenue at Main, at Central Avenue and Main, at Pilgrim Pathway and actually almost anywhere you looked north of Main Ave.

The wind was howling, it was raining and as we stood in front of the Auditorium we could only see about 50′ in front of us. The wall of dark gray smoke was more like a house, not a wall.  Everything was enveloped in this ominous gray cloud.  We encountered a man who was walking around the Great Auditorium with a coal shovel and he told us he was looking for embers that were landing close to this famous structure.

Next move was to the Auditorium Pavillion to change batteries and assess just how close we could get.  Walking past the tent structures up to Central Avenue it was difficult to see anything – so many fire engines, so much smoke.  Some people were moving left and we followed them to Bath Avenue, the street that runs parallel and to the north of Ocean Pathway.  There the horror and scope of what was happening was made real for us bystanders.

Bath Avenue is a narrow street and we were able to stand on the sidewalk opposite the houses on fire.  This had to be about 6:45am and 3 of the houses had already burned beyond salvage.  The firemen just kept pouring water on these houses and the fire would keep popping up along a roof line or somewhere in what was left of a house.  The firemen tried to stop it from spreading but this was fairly impossible.  I saw one house, a green house with siding and it was scorched so badly,  I wondered if it would just ignite some place too.

I stood there crying, this was such a tragic scene and one every Ocean Grove homeowner dreads and fears and knows “that there but for the grace of God goes…”.   Looking at these burnt out shells, emotions running in high gear, the house, yes – BUT the belongings, the treasures, the photos, the memories all gone up in smoke so to speak.  Dear God, my heart goes out to these residents.  Finally cold and wet through and through, Peter and I walked around to Ocean Pathway to see if we could now see anything of the ruins of the Inn. Not really, just the eerie sight of the Manchester Inn’s little car still parked out in front.  The labyrinth of hoses was mind-boggling – running east to west on the Pathway, south to north from Main Ave to the Pathway, hoses up and down Bath Avenue, hoses laying along Beach Avenue.  Then as I was walking back to our car, I noticed the firemen laying ladders alongside the big beautiful house on the northwest corner of Beach and Ocean Pathway.  I couldn’t bear to watch another historical Victorian go up in flames.

We thought we might have breakfast at Nagle’s but it hadn’t opened yet.  Then we got word that the water pressure on Main Avenue was greatly diminished and the water was running out brown.  Thinking better of that idea, I assumed that our cottage was far enough away not to be affected by the water situation – WRONG!!!

The cats got bottled water and I hope to shower before bedtime.

This has been a day of anguish, of introspection, of concern, and a deep appreciation and thankfulness for the bravest of the brave – The firemen and I assume some of the many companies that responded to Ocean Grove’s call for assistance, are volunteer fire houses.  Thank you West Long Branch, Neptune, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Allenhurst, Bradley Beach, Shark River Hills, Avon , Deal, Belmar, Ocean and please forgive me if I omitted some, there were just so many trucks and firemen everywhere.

Just like a victim of 3rd degree burns, our town has been indelibly scarred.

Saving the big Victorian on the corner

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

A House is Not a Home Anymore

Relentless Fire in Spite of the Rain

A Burnt Piece of a Column Amid the Omnipresent Hoses

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