BELFORD, NJ — A massive brush fire broke out shortly after 12 p.m. Tuesday near the Belford Seafood Co-op and Belford Harbor marina, said Middletown fire spokesman Dennis Fowler.
Witnesses say the fire was up to 300 feet in length, and they watched in horror as boats, lobster pots and even entire trailers sitting in the marsh were consumed and destroyed by flames within seconds.
In total, two trailers, several boats and an estimated 200 lobster pots were destroyed by the fire, said Fowler. Two Middletown volunteer firefighters were injured fighting the blaze, one from heat exhaustion.
“It was 12:18 p.m. I’m coming down East Road and all I see is this big black cloud of smoke,” said Tauro. “As I got closer and pulled in I couldn’t believe how much fire was there.”
“People were yelling, ‘Fireworks are going off!’ but it was actually power lines hitting the concrete,” he said. “You could see all the sparks going off.”
This happened along Port Monmouth Road, at the Belford Seafood market, Belford Harbor Docks and across the water from the Belford ferry terminal. This is an isolated, marshy area of Middletown along the Raritan Bay waterfront.
What caused the fire remains unknown at this time.
Middletown police confirmed they also sent police to 901 Port Monmouth Road for the fire.
There was also a brush fire Tuesday morning along the 500 block of Amboy Avenue in Aberdeen, Matawan police said. In that fire, there were reports that homes had to be evacuated. The cause of both fires is unknown.