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ABC News: Seaside Park boardwalk fire to be ruled 'accidental'

September 16, 2013 5:58:03 PM PDT
Investigators are ruling as "accidental" the fire that destroyed a major section of Jersey Shore boardwalk last week, two officials briefed on the probe told ABC News Monday night.

"It was not manmade," one of the of sources said without detailing what investigators found.

The other source elaborated saying the blaze was electrical.

The findings are expected to be laid out in a news conference Tuesday.

For more reasons than the damage alone, Daniel Shauger manages Funtown Park Arcade, which even before the fire was stumbling through the summer of Sandy.

"It's hard on everyone who works here, " says Shauger, "bad season - we were hoping to be open a couple of weeks longer."

Shauger is picking up work with jobs on the side to keep his homestead afloat. Governor Chris Christie's various departments came to town, ready to try to help everyone get back up and running. Insurance, transportation, labor, banking and many others will hear the stories.

"We had a good meeting with the Governor, it seems like they'll be able to help us right away," said Seaside Heights Mayor Bill Akers.

Businesses that are still recovering from Sandy are also invited to a 3-7 p.m. meeting so that business owners can hear directly from state officials how the rebuilding process will work.

"I have Berkeley Fish Store and Restaurant. We had two feet of water - lots of damage, and we still need help," said Carol.

There is still no cause determined for the fire.

Governor Chris Christie, who toured the area over the weekend, has already set aside $15 million for the recovery effort.

The fire started at the south end of the boardwalk, and the wind-whipped flames quickly spread north.

"It's terrible," one resident. "All the money that's been put towards this (after Superstorm Sandy), and now it's gone again. All the people that lost their homes, and now they have to deal with this? It's just an eyesore. It's terrible."

The mayor of the community is vowing to rebuild all the damaged businesses in time for next year's summer season.

The newly crowned Miss America was supposed to pay a visit to the area Monday, but the trip was canceled so as to not interfere with the cabinet meeting.


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