Officials are taking a closer look under our local boardwalks after investigators ruled the massive fire in Ocean County last week started with inaccessible electrical wiring damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Some officials are asking many to take a closer look at hidden hazards that may be lurking.
“It's nerve-wracking to watch a whole boardwalk kind of go up.” The massive fire that claimed more than 50 businesses in Seaside Park last week might've been a county away, but it still hit close to home for those who make a living working on a wooden walkway. “It’s sad,” said Holly Kisby, General Manager of Shriver’s Saltwater Taffy in Ocean City.
“There is a possibility there are corroded wires for a long time under the boardwalk,” said Ocean City’s Fire Chief Chris Breunig, “I don't know.”
Officials in Ocean City say despite numerous inspections since Hurricane Sandy, the same potential risk that caused the massive blaze in Ocean County could exist there, and not just for the boardwalk. “When a town gets flooded like we did during Sandy, this is not just a boardwalk issue, this is a homeowner's issue,” said Ocean City Mayor, Jay Gillian.
“We have to act on this now.” In Atlantic City, officials say they too are looking at things in a new light –“That's electrical wiring and in my estimation, that's not safe.” said Fire Chief Dennis Brooks inspecting wiring stapled under a pier. He said last weeks' fire should make everyone take another look at things that have already been inspected, and should be looked at once again, “if we can do anything to be proactive, in that sense, I think we're gonna take another look, pass the word to public works and different agencies in Atlantic City, give a re-inspection to some of our buildings and properties, especially when we know they were submerged.”
In Ocean City, the mayor says he's set to meet with other city officials to draft a letter that will be sent out to property and business owners reminding them about the potential dangers and the importance of getting everything properly checked by a professional- it's something merchants say they've already been discussing. “We've had people crawl under our building to get things cleaned out, we don't have any electrical wiring under our building per say, all our wires are run high, so we know that already to be a fact,” said Kisby.
Officials say if you experienced flooding during Sandy, it's worth the time and money to get things checked out now, rather than really pay for it later. “It's a question of when,” said Brooks, “not if.”
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