The images of destruction in Seaside Park, N.J. are tough to watch – dozens of businesses like arcades and pizza parlors where summertime memories have been made for decades went up in flames.
It comes right after the boardwalk's recovery from Superstorm Sandy. Livelihoods were rebuilt and the tourist destination restored. Now everything is gone, once again.
It's a sight Nancy Shaw knows all too well.
"Initially, you're shocked. Your whole life is up in flames and you think, oh gosh, what am I going to do now?" said Shaw, who owns N.L. Shaw in Mystic.
Her waterfront jewelry business, along with seven other stores, were destroyed on March 6, 2000, when a fire charred a half-block stretch of West Main Street.
Even 13 years later, the burned-out building remains damaged, so shops like Shaw's found other places to go.
Shaw's was back up and running at a new location right down the street within three months of the fire.
"We've now been in this location for 13 years and we're doing great," Shaw said.
She credits the community for helping businesses get back on their feet after the fire, and for keeping tourist dollars from leaving.
"People around you help you. It's amazing the help you get," she said.
And, although Mystic's damage doesn't match the scope of Thursday's devastation in New Jersey, Shaw said the lessons of recovery are the same.
"Life does go on as long as you are diligent and you pick up the pieces and stay focused that you can rebuild your business," she said.
In the meantime, construction on the damaged building in Mystic has been stalled for a number of reasons, including the recession. Town Manager Mark R. Oefinger said the hope is that construction on the combined commercial and residential structure begins in the next six months.