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NJ Boardwalk Fire Linked To Electrical Wiring Damaged By "Sandy"

3:00 PM, Sep 17, 2013   |    comments
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Authorities say a massive boardwalk fire in New Jersey was accidental and they have linked it to electrical wiring and equipment they say was compromised by Superstorm Sandy nearly a year ago.

The announcement was made Tuesday, five days after the fire destroyed more than 50 boardwalk businesses in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights.

Investigators say the fire started under a building that housed a candy store and an ice cream stand.

They say the fire was the result of a failure of electrical equipment and wiring under the boardwalk and subfloor compromised by Sandy floodwaters.

The equipment had been inaccessible since Sandy struck in late October.

Bob Martucci, the borough administrator in Seaside Park, said it will cost $600,000 to rebuild the borough-owned boardwalk that was burned in his town. That would cover just the stretch of boardwalk itself, not the businesses that were ruined.

Gov. Chris Christie said Friday that government grants or loans could be made available to businesses to cover costs that insurance will not cover.

"I will not permit all the work we've done over the last 10 months to be diminished or destroyed by what happened last night," he said Friday as he stood across the street from a still-smoldering pizza shop and a gutted arcade that he used to patronize with his family.

Twenty-five-old Bubba DeMuro owns Bubba's Doghouse, which he had just reopened this summer after it was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy.

"As the wind blew, I didn't want to believe it, but I knew, I knew that that whole thing was gonna go up," he told CBS News' Terrell Brown.

His business was down more than 60 percent and after rebuilding, he was not able to afford insurance. His family relies on the business for employment, he said.

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