OCEAN GROVE, NJ — Investigators have confirmed the massive fire that destroyed Ocean Grove’s boardwalk pavilion originated on the east side of the structure, underneath the Dunes Boardwalk Cafe.
While the five-alarm blaze’s cause has yet to be determined, the area of origin is where the homeless have resided in the past, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
Anyone with information that may be helpful to the investigative team is asked to contact Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Patrick Petruzziello 1-800-533-7443 or Neptune Township Police Detective Kaan Williams 732-988-8000.
The entire structure landmark, which was rebuilt after Superstorm Sandy, has been demolished and reduced to rubble on the oeanfront site near the Asbury Park border.
Shortly after the fire erupted at about 11:30 a.m. on April 13, smoke could be seen for miles into the evening, as firefighters from throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties battled the stubborn, wind-whipped fire. It was brought under control that afternoon, but contined to smolder afterward as firefighters continued to douse the burned-out shell before it was taken down with heavy equpment.
The fire began in a restaurant, reported to be in the Dunes Café, causing a roof to collapse and destruction to parts of the boardwalk, according to the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office.
None of the businesses in the beachfront pavilion were opened at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported, officials said.