The story behind one of New Jersey’s biggest fires
On April 14th, 1977, a massive fire destroyed the Garden State Racetrack in Cherry Hill, according to the book On This Day in New Jersey History. Faulty wiring is believed to have ignited the blaze and it is the biggest fire in Cherry Hill history and one of the biggest ever in the state.
The park was open at the time with an estimated 11,000 spectators in the stands. Two people died in the fire and a fire captain died as a result of a heart attack en route. The fire started in the Colonial Room dining room’s kitchen, and spread to the rest of the facility. The walls and the roof overhand eventually collapsed, leaving the facility a smoking heap. Despite the size of the fire, the fire department was able to contain the fire to the park and sparing nearby businesses. The track was eventually rebuilt and reopened in 1985 and stayed open until 2001.
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