NJ governor vows to rebuild burnt towns, U.S. aid sought

By Dave Warner

SEASIDE PARK, New Jersey (Reuters) - 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.

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 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 $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."

WCBS-TV reported that witnesses said they saw electrical wires under the custard stand catch fire. The fire then burned through the stand and spread, the witnesses told WCBS-TV.

Seaside Heights was the setting of MTV's reality show "Jersey Shore" and more recently became famous as the site of one of the most memorable images of Sandy: a roller coaster that fell into the Atlantic Ocean, where it stood, partially submerged by the waves.

Britain's Prince Harry also was drawn to the Seaside Heights boardwalk in the spring to cheer its rebuilding after Sandy.

Both communities were hardhit by Sandy, and it cost $3 million to rebuild the Seaside Heights boardwalk and $600,000 to rebuild the Seaside Park boardwalk, both using FEMA dollars, said Seaside Park Borough Councilwoman Nancy Koury.

The blaze destroyed businesses over a total of six blocks in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights and damaged a historic carousel that had survived Sandy, officials said.

Gawking at the fire damage was Pat Burneyko, 63, who drove from her home in Kearney, New Jersey, about an hour away, to see what happened to the summertime resort she has been coming to since the 1950s.

"It's bad. The merry-go-round I rode when I was a kid, and I took my kids and grandkids on is gone," Burneyko said.

Christie declared a state of emergency on Thursday after surveying the damage and declaring that it made him want to "throw up."

Both Seaside Heights and Seaside Park were badly damaged during Sandy in October 2012.

Sandy, the second-costliest storm in U.S. history after Hurricane Katrina, devastated the New Jersey coast. The state estimated the damage at $37 billion.

The blaze was fanned by wind gusts that reached 40 miles per hour, though the 400 firefighters who were fighting the fire at its peak were aided by an overnight rainstorm.

Crews cut two 20-foot breaks into the wooden boardwalks and piled sand in the voids in makeshift dunes to stop flames from spreading.

(The story corrects paragraph 5 to "will seek" instead of "has sought" and "Housing and Urban" instead of "House and Urban".)

(Additional reporting by Ian Simpson; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Barbara Goldberg, Jeffrey Benkoe, Steve Orlofsky and Richard Chang)

--

Did you know that you can get stories like this on the Yahoo mail app?
Download it here.

Yahoo Cricket

Latest News

  • Sony Pictures And CFC Join Hands For My Best Friend’s Wedding Remake
    Sony Pictures And CFC Join Hands For My Best Friend’s Wedding Remake

    Sony Pictures Entertainment has partnered up with China Film Company for the official Chinese remake of American blockbuster My Best Friend’s Wedding. The two production houses that have earlier collaborated for various film projects are thrilled about this new venture and wish to create a masterpiece for the Chinese audience. The original film My Best Friend’s Wedding released in 1997 starred Hollywood stars Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, Dermot Mulroney and Rupert Everett in the lead roles. …

  • Nick Jonas Is Too Hot To Handle In Good Thing Music Video!
    Nick Jonas Is Too Hot To Handle In Good Thing Music Video!

    Jonas Brothers fame Nick Jonas is back for some serious business as the youngest singer of the family has already dropped two megahit singles, Jealous and Chains. Plus Nick’s look in the video is too damn hot to handle! Stealing all girls’ hearts around the world, the 22-year-old Disney star looked handsome in his dapper attires throughout the music video. Unlike other music videos where we see girls twerking and doing all sorts of wild things, the Good Thing music video shows the sexy as …

  • Cannes 2015: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Graced The Red Carpet At amfAR Gala
    Cannes 2015: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Graced The Red Carpet At amfAR Gala

    Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan stunned the red carpet at the annual amfAR gala yesterday on May 21 at the famous Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Cannes. The beauty queen was expected to walk the red carpet with husband Abhishek Bachchan. Abhishek Bachchan who escorts Aishwarya Rai Bachchan to the red carpet at annual amfAR gala every year tweeted, “Unfortunately due to work commitments I can’t attend the AMFAR gala today. …

  • BBC Sued By Grand Theft Auto Firm
    BBC Sued By Grand Theft Auto Firm

    BBC has landed in some serious infringement legal issues over their film currently titled Game Changer. It’s a legal clash between a US Lawyer, Jack Thompson who wants to ban the violent gaming series and the firm which is the mastermind behind the popular computer game. Rockstar Games who are the official makers of the game Grand Theft Auto have filed a legal suit against BBC over the film Game Changer citing infringement issues. …

  • Vin Diesel Sings Tove Lo’s Habits To Pay Tribute To Paul Walker
    Vin Diesel Sings Tove Lo’s Habits To Pay Tribute To Paul Walker

    Fans and numerous celebrities are still mourning the death of the most beloved actor of Fast and Furious series Paul Walker. No Hollywood celebrity ever leaves a chance to pay tribute to the most admired actor Paul Walker. The marvelous actor Paul Walker died a tragic death in a car crash in the year 2013 and it proved to be a massive shock to everyone. …

  • Lakshmi Manchu Steals The Show At Brother Manoj’s Wedding!
    Lakshmi Manchu Steals The Show At Brother Manoj’s Wedding!

    Telugu star Manchu Manoj tied the knot with Pranathi Reddy yesterday in a grand ceremony attended by some of the biggest Tollywood celebrities. While women and men dressed fabulously in traditional garments were spotted everywhere, the most attention caught was by the sister of the groom, actress Lakshmi Manchu. Lakshmi took to her official Facebook page to give us a sneak peek of the attire she donned for the wedding bash. …

  • Hrithik Roshan’s Reaction After Getting Trolled By Twitterati
    Hrithik Roshan’s Reaction After Getting Trolled By Twitterati

    Hrithik Roshan’s fail try at breaking the internet with his tweet asking if the dress is blue or white invited a lot of trolls all over the internet. On May 21, Hrithik Roshan tweeted a picture of a dress, asking whether the dress is white and gold or blue and black, which happens to be a very old topic of discussion. Well, we guess that Hrithik Roshan just slept through February and missed the moment when the dress was the trending topic all over the Internet. …

  • Tanu Weds Manu Returns Review: A Sequel That Trumps The Original
    Tanu Weds Manu Returns Review: A Sequel That Trumps The Original

    It is unusual for a sequel to be better than the original, but that can safely be said about ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’. From the 2011 original, ‘Tanu Weds Manu’, to its follow up four years later, one can see tremendous growth in the writer, director and actors, in particular Kangana Ranaut. Picking up four years after part one, feisty Tanu (Ranaut) and tubby Manu are having marital issues, which ends up with one in a mental asylum and the other seeking asylum in the comforts of parental home. …

Loading...