Three businesses and 10 apartments were destroyed in a massive fire that ripped through the business district in a Jersey Shore town Friday, officials say.
Firefighters on three ladders poured water on the three-alarm fire in the Ocean Grove building for hours, but the structure could not be saved. The roof collapsed, and the fire that consumed the building threatened to burn others nearby.
Fire officials said the wind blew the flames through the building and toward surrounding structures on the main street lined with historic Victorians, making it difficult to contain at first.
Firefighters "were hampered early on by that heavy wind coming through and these cold temperatures," said OEM coordinator Michael Bascom.
Yvonne Paradiso lost her family business, the locally acclaimed Yvonne's Cafe, in the blaze.
"It's my livelihood, it's my family's livelihood," she said, distraught over the loss of the cafe. "There's a lot of families that depend on the income they make from the cafe as well."
Officials are investigating a cause of the fire.