Friday, September 13, 2013

Wildwood Focuses on Burned Seaside Park Boardwalk as Firemen’s Convention Begins


Many firefighters throughout New Jersey en route to the New Jersey Firemen’s Association Convention in Wildwood had their trip detoured for a day when they were called to assist with a Sept. 12 devastating multi-alarm fire in Seaside Park that destroyed multiple blocks of that town’s boardwalk.

For the past 38 years, firefighters have flocked to Wildwood and to the annual convention that has found a home in the city and has become part of the city’s autumnal tradition.

“What happened to them is devastating,” said Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano speaking about the Seaside Park inferno. “The devastation they got hit with is unfathomable.”

The Ocean County boardwalk, which sits 75 miles north of Wildwood’s world-famous wooden walkway, took a beating last year from Hurricane Sandy. “How many times can one town get punched in the face?” asked the Mayor.

More than 400 firefighters responded to the Seaside Park blaze. Many of them were scheduled to make the trek to Cape May County for a weekend of rest and relaxation. How many of those firefighters will be able to come to the city remains unseen.

“There are still a number of companies up there,” said the Mayor, including six to 10 companies from Cape May County. “Whether it puts a damper on [the convention] or not is not important. It’s not about our success as much as how important it is to help them in their time of need. Our concern is about their well-being.”

Mayor Troiano said the city’s heart and sympathy goes out to the Seaside Park community.
Over the years Wildwood, with its two mile long Boardwalk, has dealt with boardwalk fires. But none like that in Seaside Park. “We have a Boardwalk and have had multiple Boardwalk fires here,” said Mayor Troiano. “But we pale in comparison to what they had.”

For those firefighters who do make their way to Wildwood and the convention, they will not be disappointed. Perfect weather is predicted for the weekend and exhibitors abound; including several new exhibitors. “Everybody who’s here seems to be enjoying themselves,” said Mayor Troiano.

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