|Published:||Sep 13, 2013 9:46 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Sep 13, 2013 10:55 PM EDT|
NAPLES, Fla - Parts of the Jersey Shore continue to smolder after flames ripped apart the boardwalk just 24 hours ago. The local prosecutor's office, which is taking over the investigation says it still doesn't know what sparked the fire which tore up four blocks of the boardwalk, but it does admit, the fire may be suspicious.
The tragic fire also has very close ties to Southwest Florida. A Naples man who was forced out of his Jersey Shore home by Superstorm Sandy last year is now heartbroken for his friends up north.
Rob Yeager sent WINK News video showing a tower of black smoke shooting into the sky. His friends recorded it. Yeager says a lot of them are out of a job because the places they worked burned to the ground.
"That's my home, so it's hard."
For Rob Yeager, Seaside Heights is a place where years of memories were created. Surfing, the boardwalk, summer love, attractions -- all burned to the ground.
"The videos I have are crazy, they're ones my friends are sending me and they're right there in the midst of it," says Yeager. "It actually looked like a bomb had gone off with the amount of smoke."
Yeager grew up just ten minutes away from where the flames broke out. He's in Naples only because Superstorm Sandy destroyed his home.
"We were forced to move down here to my parents second house. They are snowbirds. We had about six feet of water in our house," says Yeager.
Now, firefighters say 80 percent of the boardwalk in Seaside Park is destroyed affecting jobs, lifestyles, incomes and most tragic of all, memories.
"For this to happen, it's absolutely terrifying and devastating, such a tragedy," says Yeager. "I feel for everyone up there and my heart is with them."
24 hours later, the emotions are still high and Yeager says it's still difficult to watch the devastation unfold, but he knows his hometown will bounce back.
"We're going to rebuild and our motto is Jersey Strong and it's was our motto when we were coming back from Sandy. If we did it once, we can do it again."
As for the price to rebuild, there's no estimate yet on how much it will cost or how long it could take.