Multiple agencies completed the investigation of a four-alarm fire at Playland’s Castaway Cove on the Ocean City Boardwalk and announced the preliminary findings on Monday.
The incident was determined to be an accidental fire from an undetermined electrical source near the front of the building, according to a city press release.
The Jan. 30 blaze destroyed the building that housed an arcade and offices for the amusement park, a juice bar, and the adjacent Dairy Queen and Hamburger Construction Company businesses. The structure was unoccupied, and no one was injured in fighting the fire.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Response Team led the investigation with assistance from the Ocean City Fire Department Investigation Unit, Cape May County Fire Marshal’s Office, Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office and New Jersey State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Investigators were able to use a pattern of fire alarms, eyewitness accounts, photos and videos, a detailed excavation of the site and examination of forensic evidence to determine the cause and area of origin for the fire and conclusively rule out other possible causes, the release stated.
“On behalf of the Newark Field Division, I am extremely proud of and grateful for the level of expertise and resources our agents and the ATF National Response Team deploy to every investigation. As investigators, they dedicate their knowledge, skills, and abilities to each unique scene alongside our local, county, and state partners,” ATF Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson said in the release.
He continued, “As demonstrated in this joint investigation, our partners can rest assured that ATF will continue leveraging our expertise to support investigations across multiple agencies and jurisdictions.”
The outdoor area of Castaway Cove, including the amusement rides, was not damaged by the fire. The owner has stated that he will be able to open the park this year while rebuilding the structure.