Seaside Park Business Owners Survey Damage From Fire

Seaside Park Business Owners Survey Damage From Fire

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Business owners and employees returned to the boardwalk Friday to face a harsh reality. The fire has set many of them back to where they were almost a year ago when Sandy took their livelihood.

"My first thought was maybe the ashtray had caught fire from cigarette butts," said Brophy Sheen who recalls looking out the window of his job and smoke. He was unaware that Seaside Park boardwalk was going up in flames.

"By the time I got to the window I realized it's definitely not an ashtray," he said. Brophy started recording video with his cell phone at the first sight of smoke but quickly realized the Sawmill Café where he works as a waiter was in trouble.

"Within maybe 10 minutes I saw the flames come and engulf the building."

Friday he returned to the still active scene overwhelmed with worry.

"I just paid the rent so I'm good for the next month." But Brophy knows 30 days will come fast with no word on when he'll work again.

"We're going to be up and running hopefully in the next month or two. I don't'. I don't have answers," he said. The job also supports his three children who he's now worried about feeding.

"I'm concerned everyday about making ends meet."

Workers at other businesses tried to save inventory but ultimately lost everything.

"We had a police officer yelling saying you guys better get out of there. Once we got all the jerseys out we moved back and all of a sudden it started getting covered in smoke and flames," said a young man whose father owns a souvenir shop on the boardwalk.

Brophy says he feels lucky. The place where he works sustained mostly exterior damage.

"I'm glad that we're still here but I'm hurt that so many other people have lost so much. My son worked at Parks Seafood this summer and they were good to him. I'm sad to see that they lost everything."

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