Playland Castaway Cove rides safe after Ocean City boardwalk fire
OCEAN CITY — A boardwalk landmark pirate ship is all but gone while the rides it towered over are safe, following a four-alarm fire in the Playland Castaway Cove arcade building on Saturday.
In addition to the larger-than life ship installation with its enormous pirate and parrot, the arcade and three business offices had suffered sizable damage as of Sunday. The fire also ripped through Hamburger Construction Company, Dairy Queen and BrumeJuice, according to Brian Hartley, Vice President of Playland Castaway Cove.
Despite the situation, amusement park operators have said they will be open come Spring.
No possible cause had been determined for the fire as of Sunday, as the investigation was active and underway by Ocean City fire officials.
There were five or six rides which would need to have their electricity rerouted, as they had been run through a room within the boardwalk building, Hartley said.
There were also some parts to a few rides being stored inside the arcade facility during the off-season, so that would need to be "sorted out," he added.
As concerned patrons have been extending their support online, Hartley said they have politely declined a few offers to start GoFundMe pages to benefit Playland Castaway Cove, as with so much going on in the world they would rather see help be extended to local people in-need.
"Take care of those around you," Hartley said, adding they are grateful for such intentions.
“Thank you for all of the support the last 24 hours. We continue to pray for the first responders that are still on site and can’t thank them enough for all they have done," a Sunday Facebook post by Playland Castaway Cove said, asking anyone with photos from recent trips to the arcade to send them to the business.
“I can assure you this will not put a damper at all on the Simpson family getting their park open for the summer," Jody Levchuk, Director of Operations to neighboring boardwalk business, JiLLy's Stores, said in a Facebook Live video on Saturday afternoon.
Levchuk and his brother, Randy Levchuk, walked the scene to try and help reassure worried patrons who had questions about how contained the damage was from the fire.
Playland Castaway Cove is one of two separate amusement park attractions along the Ocean City boardwalk. Gillian's Wonderland Pier, about a half mile away, is under separate ownership.
"Boardwalk merchants worked to install additional protection for their businesses to protect from fire in adjacent structures; this looks to be contained in one structure...perhaps the result of these protections," Kimberly Tomaski, of another boardwalk business, Henry's Landmark Jeweler, said in a written response to New Jersey 101.5 on Saturday.
She also thanked the first responders and firefighters working at the scene over the weekend.
With previous reporting by Sergio Bichao and Dan Alexander