A fire that has engulfed the Shore Plaza Motel and Sam's Pizza in Wildwood has been upgraded to a nine-alarm blaze.
Slideshow: Wildwood Motel Fire
The motel is located at 26th Avenue and Boardwalk. North Wildwood, Wildwood and Wildwood Crest fire departments all responded to the scene.
Fire officials said that the entire motel was affected by the fire that started about 2:30 p.m. Firefighters said that when they arrived on the scene, the flames were coming from the second and third floors of the motel. Fire investigators said that the blaze originated on the third floor in one of the rooms.
"As the truck arrived, it blew out the windows on the third floor and the second floor below that and blew through the roof, directly above those two units. Once the fire got into that hallway corridor, it just took over the building from east to west," said Wildwood Fire Chief Conrad Johnson.
Three or four businesses located on the bottom floor of the motel have also been gutted by the fire, including a Rita's Water Ice.
The motel was not occupied when the fire broke out. Fire officials said that one fireman was injured, experiencing heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.
Wildwood's fire chief said that the winds have been a help and a hindrence in fighting the blaze.
"The wind is actually helping because it's blowing into the back of the building and it's pushing the fire towards the beach and its helping spread the fire. We had crews enter three times to try to make headway and they were driven back three times," Johnson said. Barbara Culp and Pat Smith told NBC 10 News that they saw the fire on TV and ran to check on their house, which is located next door to the motel.
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