SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ -- Demolition began this week to clear the debris and raze unstable structures left in the wake of a fire that destroyed nearly 60 buildings in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park last month. State and local municipalities, eager to begin the rebuilding process, cut through the standard red tape that often entangles such contracts in order to begin work as quickly as possible.
The $4.7 million contract, which was awarded to Eagle Paving Corp. (South Toms River, NJ), requires the work be completed within 60 days. However, the selection of Eagle has raised some local eyebrows. Eagle is run by Bill Major, owner of FunTown Pier, which was destroyed in the blaze.
According to the cities' officials, neither municipality will need to dip into their budgets to complete the cleanup. Each has been promised $2.5 million from the Superstorm Sandy fund through the state's Economic Development Authority's Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program.
The cause of the fire, which destroyed blocks of oceanfront property, has been attributed to an electrical malfunction. Arson investigators have determined that wires beneath the boardwalk that were either aging or damaged by salt water from Hurricane Sandy were the cause.