Governor vows to rebuild burnt NJ towns
By Dave Warner, ReutersSEASIDE PARK, N.J.--New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vowed on Friday to rebuild two resort towns ravaged by a boardwalk fire just months after they were restored in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, while state officials put out a call for federal aid.
September 15, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
About 100 firefighters remained on the scene on Friday, putting out hot spots after containing the fire which started at a frozen custard stand in Seaside Park on Thursday and blazed out of control for hours, moving several blocks into neighboring Seaside Heights.
Christie said state agencies were ready to help residents rebuild again and praised local resilience after Sandy pummeled the New Jersey coast in October 2012.
“We have endured and begun to come back from the devastation of Sandy. We will not let these fires destroy those efforts,” he told a news conference on Friday.
New Jersey Congressman Jon Runyan, a Republican, will seek federal dollars to pay for the recovery effort in his district, and has reached out to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said spokesperson Stacy Barton.
Fellow New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone, a Democrat who represents a nearby district, supports the effort to use federal dollars to help the two towns, said spokesperson Ray Zaccaro.
It could cost an estimated total of US$1.4 million to rebuild destroyed sections of both boardwalks, said Seaside Park Mayor Robert Matthies.
At least 30 businesses were damaged by the fire, Christie said, including such Jersey Shore favorites as Bubba's Dog House, Kupper's French Fries and Maruca's Tomato Pies.
The incident, including the cause of the fire, was being investigated by county and state agencies, and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Christie said.
“It's piles of rubble, it's piles of just char and debris, caved-in buildings with no walls and no roofs,” said Brian Gabriel, chief fire coordinator for Ocean County. “It just looks like a bomb went off.”