Tragic Fire Under Atlantic City Boardwalk Claims a Life and Damages Property

 April 19, 2024

A calamitous conflagration under one of its iconic boardwalks has stirred communal concern in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

A fire flaring beneath the Atlantic City Boardwalk led to the death of 67-year-old Bruce Elder and inflicted substantial structural damage.

Last Thursday evening, a tragic incident occurred near South Tennessee Avenue beneath a wooden structure. In a modest homeless encampment, Bruce Elder tragically lost his life while sleeping. CBS News reported that the fire rapidly spread, destroying the storage area at the rear of Central Pier Arcade and leaving a trail of debris washed away by the water used to extinguish the blaze.

Community and Officials Respond to Crisis

More than fifty firefighters threw themselves into the fray, battling the blaze that demanded hours of intense effort. Their valor prevented any additional injuries as neighboring businesses had shuttered for the day.

The implications of this disaster are pronounced, especially as it exposes the growing issue of homelessness under the boardwalk. The city of Atlantic City, led by Mayor Marty Small Sr., has taken steps by establishing specialized groups aimed at improving boardwalk safety and managing the homeless population effectively.

Raul Coreas, the manager of Central Pier Arcade, shared the fire's impacts on the business. His concern was evident as he pondered the arcade's ability to reopen in time for the crucial summer season.

Raul Coreas voiced his concerns and gratitude:

We got a lot of water damage, smoke damage, and the back storage is gone. I'm not sure if we'll be able to open up for the summer. Thank God no one was there. It is material, so just try to rebuild and move on.

Officials reiterated their belief that the blaze was set deliberately, although they currently see no grounds for a criminal indictment. This event follows a trend, as the area has witnessed multiple fires presumed to have started among the homeless populations seeking refuge under the boardwalk.

Atlantic City Takes Proactive Measures

In the face of repeated incidents, establishing a homeless division and boardwalk improvement group signifies the city's commitment to tackling this complex issue head-on. Mayor Small highlighted the necessity of these groups by reflecting on recent discoveries of intricate living arrangements fashioned by some homeless individuals under the boardwalk.

Patti Goldberg, an employee at the Central Pier Arcade, expressed the staff's collective relief at the absence of casualties and credited the firefighting teams for their prompt and effective response.

Patti Goldberg appreciated the efforts: "We are very grateful for that because it could have been worse, so much worse, and we will take it one day at a time. You have to give kudos to the firefighters."

While the immediate threat has been quelled, the aftermath leaves a community rattled and a city more aware of its vulnerabilities. The ongoing investigation into the exact cause and potential preventions continues, alongside the anticipation of an autopsy that will provide closure on Bruce Elder’s tragic demise.


Atlantic City faces the dual challenge of grieving a lost citizen and repairing a beloved public space. Simultaneously, authorities are tasked with better understanding and managing the social issues lying beneath its wooden planks. Efforts to revitalize and safeguard the boardwalk are ongoing, reflecting a broader struggle to balance heritage with the pressing need to address urban social challenges.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

Top Articles



Receive information on new articles posted, important topics and tips.
Join Now
We won't send you spam. 
Unsubscribe at any time.

Recent Articles

Recent Analysis

Copyright © 2024 -
A Project of Connell Media.