Gov. Christie: NJ Boardwalk Fire is '95% Contained
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says the massive fire that destroyed part of an iconic Jersey shore boardwalk in two towns is 95% contained.
Christie said Friday it could take days to extinguish "hot pockets" at the scene.
Firefighters are continuing to pour thousands of gallons of water on the smoldering remnants of the massive fire. Officials are counting the cost of once again rebuilding a walkway that had been wrecked less than a year ago by Superstorm Sandy.
About 100 firefighters remain on the scene, and heavy equipment is poised to move in and start poking through the rubble once firefighters extinguished the last burning pockets.
Authorities say the fire that raged for eight hours had destroyed about five blocks of boardwalk in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights and has leveled 32 businesses in Seaside Park alone.
Gov. Christie, as he did just after the Oct. 29 storm, vowed that the two towns would rebuild.
"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, standing across the street from a still-smoldering pizza shop and a gutted arcade building that he used to patronize with his family. "While we have lost a place that has provided generations of memories to our citizens, we will rebuild. We will make new memories, because that's what we do."
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., a Democrat whose district lies a few miles north of Seaside Heights, said he would ask federal officials to consider letting the two towns use part of the federal Sandy disaster relief money to rebuild the boardwalk again. Failing that, another appropriation from the federal Emergency Management Agency, Community Development Block Grants or Small Business Administration loans should be explored as possible help for affected businesses, he said.
"There's obviously a pot of money out there," Pallone said. "If we can use it for this, we should." (AP)