New Jersey Boardwalk Fire Nearly Contained

4:45 PM, Sep 13, 2013   |    comments
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(Photo: Bob Bielk, The Asbury Park, N.J., Press)

Erik Larsen, The Asbury Park (N.J.) Press

ASBURY PARK, N.J. - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vowed on Friday that the state will rebuild -- for a second time -- portions of the Seaside Park and Seaside Heights boardwalk destroyed by fire a day earlier.

Much of the iconic boardwalk just rebuilt after superstorm Sandy was destroyed. At a news conference, Christie said the fire that started at a frozen custard shop Thursday damaging nearly two dozen businesses is now 95% contained. Firefighters will continue to battle hot spots for the next couple of days, he said.

Christie said the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would be joining the investigation into the cause, but the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office would continue to be the lead investigative agency in the matter.

However, Christie emphasized the cause of the fire remains unknown and it was premature to speculate on what happened.

"The folks on the ground are working side-by-side with the fire investigation team, to ensure that evidence is preserved," Christie said. "To that point, I know there are a lot of questions about how this fire started. We don't know yet and it would be irresponsible for us to speculate."

The damage covers a four-block radius.

Christie said extinguishing the blaze was hampered by 30 mph-winds and the tar roofs of the businesses, which accelerated the spread of the fire.

It may be days before small pockets of fires -- some that may continue to be found under debris -- are fully extinguished, he said.

While there were no serious injuries reported Thursday, Christie said three first responders were hurt Friday when they fell out of a high vehicle and sustained head injuries.

The governor noted that the White House has been in touch with his administration, and he expected to speak with President Obama at some point about the situation.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy have both contacted him to offer their state's assistance.

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