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Christie: Sandy aid for burned NJ shore businesses



TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is defending his decision to use Superstorm Sandy recovery money to help rebuild businesses burned by a boardwalk fire last week.

The Republican said Wednesday boardwalk-area businesses in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights are entitled to the federal money because Sandy was cited as a contributing cause of the fire. He says roughly 50 businesses destroyed or damaged by the fire but unaffected by last October’s superstorm are eligible for aid.

Investigators blamed the superstorm for damaging electrical wiring that touched off the four-block fire.

Christie says the federal money is intended to restore businesses in communities hit hardest by the storm. He has pledged $15 million to help rebuild burned businesses.

The recovery money also will pay for debris removal.