It was around 10:30 p.m. when the rains started to fall.
Jean Contessa smiled and said "yes, what we've been waiting for," to some neighbors who gathered a block from the Funtown Pier.
The Seaside Park councilwoman had just 20 minutes prior found out that her son, who was battling the blaze, was safe. He left work early to respond to the fire, she said, and is supposed to be a delegate to the Firemen's Convention in Wildwood this weekend.
Brian Gabriel, the Ocean County Chief Fire Coordinator, said fortunately, there were only one or two minor injuries sustained by emergency workers. A few firefighters suffered from minor smoke inhalation and heat stroke.
Contessa said Seaside Park Council was supposed to meet tonight at 7:30 p.m., but rescheduled its meeting for 11 a.m. tomorrow so they can brief the public, but reached earlier this morning, she noted the meeting had been cancelled.
Asked for her reaction to the fire, Contessa said, "it's just devastating...we're just starting to recover from Sandy, and now this."
One of her Seaside Park neighbors, Linda Batcho, echoed the sentiment.
"We lost half the boardwalk to Sandy, and now this," she said, noting that this part of the boardwalk was damaged but not destroyed by Sandy. She sat on her front lawn and watched as crews battled the flames at Three Brothers Pizza.
She said she has already spoken with the owner of a boardwalk's fries stand, whom she declined to identify. He left the building quickly, she said, because he knew the amount of oil would mean his business would go quickly. It became one of the 20 businesses along the 6-block stretch that fire officials said were destroyed by the blaze.
Batcho said talking with her friends, council members and neighbors brought back bad memories.
"I left North Jersey after 9-11," she said. "But seeing that building up in flames like, that, after the devastation - it brought it all back like a flash."