A massive fire engulfed Atlantic City's historic Steeplechase Amusement Park Pier for nearly eight hours Saturday, causing some $1 million in damage, and was expected to simmer for days, officials said.
About 150 firefighters, three of whom were slightly injured, used a semicircle formation to protect a casino and the resort's famous Boardwalk, and the blaze was declared under control at 7:55 p.m., authorities said.The fire caused extensive damage to stands and rides in the boarded-up park, which was not in public use, and dark smoke blew into the Resorts International Hotel and Casino, recently purchased by talk-show host Merv Griffin.
"It's a $1 million fire," Deputy Fire Chief John Brenner said. "It's going to be burning for days. It's deep seated and the embers are still going. They're still digging. I've got 30 men and six pieces of equipment and they're going to be there all night."
The park, which opened in August 1899, burned to the ground Feb. 14, 1932, and was then rebuilt, Brenner said.
About half of the 432-foot pier was damaged, and much of the area surrounding the park was in shambles, he said.
"The front portion of the pier where there were restaurants and stands is destroyed," Brenner said. "The exterior portion where (New York real estate developer Donald) Trump lands his helicopters is still in place, because of the direction the wind was traveling."