There is a lot of luck involved when it comes to fires. In the case of the Seaside boardwalk fire last September the luck was all bad but yesterday, especially for those in Beachwood good luck was on their side.  

Flames from Beachwood forest fire (Jessica Bonelli, Riverside Signal)

By now you are well aware a major brush fire broke out shortly before noon and the immediate concern was the area by Toms River Intermediate School South as flames were literally right across the street from the school and within a hundred yards of homes on Berkeley Avenue in Beachwood.

However fire fighters got that initial blaze under control rather quickly and strong winds resulted in the fire moving away from Beachwood and in the direction of the Continental Boulevard and the Northern Boulevard areas of Bayville.  While some homes were threatened and eventually evacuated in that area there were no reports of any significant damage and everyone was able to return to their homes by last night.

You may recall with the boardwalk fire last September that it started at the southern end in Seaside Park and had the winds been blowing to the south it likely would not have been a big problem but strong winds to the north resulted in the fire jumping structures and we know what the end result was.

This latest brush fire is a stark reminder that we’re in the midst of forest fire season and with low humidity and strong gusty winds even a single cigarette butt could result in tragedy.  It also reminded those of us who live in Beachwood and Berkeley of the 2002 fire that jumped the Garden State Parkway near Double Trouble State Park.

Beachwood forest fire (Jessica Bonel, Riverside Signal)

Residents of both towns owe a debt of gratitude to the firefighters and other emergency personnel on the scene, especially volunteers who left their jobs and families to answer the call.

His list of milestones, accolades and achievements could fill a very thick book and at some point maybe he’ll sit in a rocking chair and view them.  For now Ken Frank continues to coach baseball, winning baseball and tonight on the field named after him his current group of Toms River South Indians will seek to add another milestone to their legendary coaches’ long list: 800 career victories.

South will host division rival Southern Regional at 7pm.  Frank is the winningest coach in New Jersey history with a career record of 799-255-3.