Jersey Shore Boardwalk Fire Destroys 20 Buildings

Fast-moving fire in Seaside Heights set back months of progress following Hurricane Sandy recovery.

Months of painstaking recovery work were undone in just a few hours on Thursday when a fast-moving fire ripped through the Jersey Shore boardwalk, destroying at least 20 businesses on the iconic stretch viewers got to know and love through MTV's "Jersey Shore" series. Though none of the cast members were from the area, they still consider it their second home and many took to social media to express their grief.

After the initial shock about the news on Thursday set in, Jenni "JWOWW" Farley wrote, "Stay strong Seaside! Thank you to everyone who helped with yesterday's tragedy. My heart breaks for ..."

Sammi "Sweetheart" Giancola was also gutted by the reports. "Just heard about Seaside & my heart is breaking," she wrote on Thursday afternoon. "Prayers to everyone! This is devastating seeing my other home go through this once again."

Almost 11 months to the day that the show's cast and some musical guests gathered to raise money and hope with the "Restore the Shore" telethon in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, local residents looked on in sadness as the fire dealt another blow to the region.

According to the New York Times, the fire began shortly after 2 p.m. at iconic, nearly 100-year-old ice cream shop Kohr's Frozen Custard and quickly spread to other buildings and structures, including Funtown Pier, which was nearly destroyed by the hurricane. Flames also appeared to have ruined a historic carousel, which had been restored and reopened just months ago.

Governor Chris Christie said about 20 businesses were almost completely destroyed over a six-block stretch by the fire, which burned for five hours and was finally contained before 8 p.m. thanks to the efforts of around 400 firefighters from more than 30 surrounding towns.

Several cast members of the "Shore" weighed in on the tragedy, including DJ Pauly D who wrote, "My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in Seaside right now, it's heartbreaking to see my second home go through another devastation."

The news also hit cast member Deena Cortese hard. "I can't believe what's going on in Seaside right now," she tweeted. ":( So sad ... So many memories." She was especially sad about reports that the Beachcomber bar, which was a frequent scene of revelry on the show. "To think Beachcomber made it thru the hurricane n now is completely destroyed. Seaside was such a huge part of my life even when I was 5."