Seaside Residents Say Rebuilding Has Begun - KMSP-TV

Seaside Residents Say Rebuilding Has Begun

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SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. -

There were more flames on the boardwalk in Seaside Park today.

Early this morning, crews put out another flare-up at the scene of Thursday's fire.

Flames sparked up this time inside a pile of debris, so there was no more major damage.

Three days after fire destroyed four blocks and nearly 50 businesses, much of the Seaside Heights boardwalk still remains an active fire scene. But the people who live here and call this place home say they've already started rebuilding.

"It's so great to see everybody in our community coming out and just celebrating our return," said Seaside native Crystal Kiarullf.

She says she had to come to the boardwalk for Sunday's planned Horizon Day celebration despite what her boardwalk looks like just four blocks away.

"A lot of people lived here and grew up here," said Kiarulff, of Brick. "Their businesses are here. Their family and friends live here, in the Jersey Shore area. And it takes a toll."

At the fire scene, firefighters were still dousing hot spots again Sunday as onlookers were still pouring in to see firsthand the devastation of the place they love.

"We have pictures of the kids on the carousel when they were first born," said Kim Budd, of Toms River, who brought her two children.

"I came out to so they could see it in person," Budd said. "I mean, to watch something on TV and knowing it's going on 10 minutes away from you, it's -- I just want them to really see it and have it sink in, you know, and be ready for the rebuild again."

The mental toll from Superstorm Sandy then a major fire has prompted the state to provide mental health counselors to residents and business owners next week.

Patti Santa Maria, of Medford, said, "I can see my mother, to this day, wheeling her first grandchild on the boardwalk."

Santa Maria met her husband at this very spot in 1965. Since then, it's been a town full of family memories. But most here say those memories will one day continue.

"I'll be back. I'll be back next weekend," she pledged.

Meanwhile, Gov. Chris Christie has announced some special help Monday for people still reeling from that fire.

Christie, who also has a close personal connection here, plans on convening a special mobile cabinet meeting in Seaside on Monday afternoon. One of the only things on the agenda is another boardwalk rebuilding plan, FOX 29's Chris O'Connell reported.

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