Update: This post has been updated throughout.
Ocean County prosecutor’s office released the results of their investigation into the 10-alarm fire that burned down nearly 50 businesses on the Jersey Shore boardwalk last week. The fire was ruled accidental. One of the more shocking conclusions: Damage from Sandy indirectly caused the blaze.
According to the fire investigation task force set up by the Ocean County prosecutor’s office, the fire was caused by malfunctioning electrical wiring underneath the boardwalk. The wiring, put into the boardwalk after 1970, was inaccessible to inspectors because it had been buried by the hurricane.
The electrical wiring served Biscayne Candie’s. It and the other businesses destroyed by the fire were on an old part of the boardwalk, not the section of it that was rebuilt after Sandy.
The Jersey Shore is an important part of the area’s economy, having been in operation in one form or another since 1915. Large sections of the boardwalk that went up in smoke had been in operation for over half a century.
The destruction of the boardwalk came just after millions had been spent in recovery after Sandy, as well as a $25 million ad campaign touting seaside Jersey’s economic resilience. So boardwalk businesses posted one of their most disappointing seasons in decades this summer, the timing of the fire appeared more than a little suspicious.
Governor Chris Christie will dip into Sandy recovery money to speed up the cleanup effort. The state has also pledged $15 million to the dozens of businesses that decimated in the fire.
The fire broke out last Thursday afternoon. The blaze took nine hours and 400 firefighters to contain. No one was seriously harmed.
(h/t: CBS New York)
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