An electric wiring problem likely caused the fire this month that damaged a massive swath of New Jersey's boardwalk, which had been freshly rebuilt after Superstorm Sandy wrecked it last October, authorities said Tuesday.
An investigation ruled out human involvement in the fire, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato said.
A team of investigators agreed that a failure of electrical equipment and wiring under the boardwalk contributed to the blaze. The wiring was installed in 1970 and "compromised by Sandy floodwaters," investigators said.
Billows of smoke rolled gently out over the ocean early Friday in New Jersey after firefighters defeated the behemoth blaze that spawned them.
Superstorm Sandy had left Seaside Park's boardwalk wracked but repairable a year ago. But the flames that raged for nine hours Thursday consumed four blocks of it.
By the time the fire crew of hundreds managed to corral the fire, it had destroyed or damaged 50 businesses, CNN affiliate WCBS reported.
"I feel like I want to throw up," said Gov. Chris Christie after getting a look at the fire on Thursday.
We've all heard the dictum: Don't text and drive. Now, a New Jersey state appeals court has an addendum: Don't text a driver - or you could be held liable if he causes a crash.
Kyle Best was behind the wheel of his pickup in September 2009 driving down a rural highway, when Shannon Colonna sent him a text.
The two were teens at the time. He was 18; she was 17, and they were dating. They sent each other 62 texts that day, according to court documents. That's 14 messages an hour.
In the opposing lane of traffic, David Kubert was cruising along on a big, blue touring motorcycle with his wife Linda along for the ride. They approached Best at exactly the wrong time.
Several of them suffered property losses in Superstorm Sandy. One is the daughter of a man who helped write New Jersey's lottery law.
All are feeling extremely lucky.
Sixteen New Jersey co-workers who jointly held one of three tickets that won last week's $448 million Powerball jackpot came forward publicly Tuesday.
Dubbed the "Oceans 16" - they work for the Ocean County vehicle maintenance facility - the group claims $86 million, or a third of the jackpot's cash-option value. After federal and state taxes, each group member will get $3.8 million.FULL STORY
The odds of getting hit by lightning in any given year are about one in 500,000. You are about 350 times LESS likely to win the Powerball lottery.
Wham!! Wham!! Wham!! The lottery struck at least three lucky victims at the same time Wednesday night with a total jackpot of $448 million, Powerball said on its website.
James Gandolfini probably died of a heart attack, according to the head of a Rome hospital's emergency department where the actor was taken.
The body of the actor was transferred to a hospital morgue in Rome early Thursday, where it awaited an autopsy.
By law, medical examiners in Italy are required to carry out the postmortem 24 hours after the body's arrival in the morgue, a hospital spokesman said.
Before Italian authorities can release his remains for transport back to the United States, the U.S. Embassy in Rome must issue a death certificate.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called for a special election this year to replace Frank Lautenberg, the longtime Democratic senator who died early Monday.
Christie set the primary date as August 13, and said a general election vote will be held October 16. He'll name an interim senator by next week to serve until the special election.
"We must allow our citizens to have their say," Christie said, noting the time between now and the 2014 election would have been too long for an unelected replacement to hold the seat.FULL STORY
After turning 50 years old, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie secretly underwent lap-band surgery in February for the sake of his wife and kids, a source close to the governor confirmed to CNN.
Christie (pictured) told the New York Post, which first reported the story, that the invasive procedure came after his family and friends urged him to start improving his health.
"I've struggled with this issue for 20 years," he said. "For me, this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and wanting to be there for them."FULL STORY
The border with Mexico must be secure.
This requirement is the cornerstone of an immigration reform bill a bipartisan group of senators are to file on Capitol Hill Tuesday. There will be no path to legal residency for migrants without it.
Undocumented immigrants may also not reach the status of fully legal residents under the proposed legislation, until the Department of Homeland Security has implemented measures to prevent "unauthorized workers from obtaining employment in the United States."FULL STORY
Brandon Holt didn't make it to his 7th birthday. He won't graduate high school, won't get married, won't have kids of his own.
But in a way, he will live on.
The father of the Toms River, New Jersey, boy – who died earlier this week after being shot by his young playmate – said he and his wife decided to donate Brandon's organs, in hopes some good will come of their tragedy.FULL STORY
A 6-year-old New Jersey boy has died after being shot in the head by a 4-year-old playmate, Toms River police Chief Michael Mastronardy said.
Brandon Holt was pronounced dead at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, according to Mastronardy. He was shot in the head on Monday evening.
It was the second incident in the United States in recent days involving young children accidentally shooting others.FULL STORY
Rutgers University will pay former Athletic Director Tim Pernetti more than $1.1 million after his resignation in the wake of a scandal involving the videotaped abuse of basketball players by the team's former coach.
CNN obtained the terms of Pernetti's separation package through a New Jersey Open Public Records Act request after Rutgers and Pernetti had agreed to keep the terms confidential.
The state university will pay Pernetti his annual $453,000 salary through June 30, 2014. In addition, he will get a lump sum equal to 18 months of salary - $679,500 - payable by next month, according to the agreement.
Rutgers University fired head basketball coach Mike Rice on Wednesday after ESPN broadcast a video showing him physically and verbally abusing players.
"Based upon recently revealed information and a review of previously discovered issues, Rutgers has terminated the contract of Mike Rice," the school said in a tweet Wednesday.
"You f**king fairy ... you're a f**king fa**got," Rice appears to say during one session depicted on the video.
The winner of the $338 million Powerball jackpot paid $30,000 in back child support to the mother of three of his children Monday and had the warrant cleared during a hearing in a New Jersey family court.
The payment clears Pedro Quezada's record, probation officials said during the hearing in Paterson.
The warrant for Quezada was originally issued in 2009. He owed a total of $29,000 in child support, according to William Maer of the Passaic County Sheriff's Office. Quezada has five children, ages 5 to 23. It is not clear which children are covered by the payments.
Quezada told Family Court Judge Ernest Caposela that the children will now live with him.FULL STORY
The New Jersey man who won $338 million in the Powerball lottery last weekend is wanted on charges of unpaid child support, according to the Passaic County Sheriff's Office.
An arrest warrant was issued for Pedro Quezada in 2009, the sheriff's office said. He has five children ages 5-23 and owes a total of $29,000 in back child support, spokesman William Maer said. It is not clear which children the payments are for.
After appearing in a video claiming Sen. Robert Menendez paid her for sex, a Dominican woman now says in a court document she was paid to make those claims and has never met or had a relationship with the New Jersey Democrat.
In the notarized document, Nexis de los Santos Santana says she was filmed without her knowledge claiming to have had sex with Menendez.
"I am the person in the video, that is me, and those are my words, but this statement is not true," Santana's statement reads. "I never agreed to be recorded."
A reference to the name "Sandy" can evoke painful reminders of last year's tragedies, be it the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School or an historic storm that wiped out thousands of homes and businesses, and left millions in the dark.
But New Jersey's largest firefighters union is looking to honor those affected by both calamities and join them and their mutual names into something more positive.
Firefighters have begun collecting donations for the "The Sandy Ground Project," with 26 playgrounds to be built in communities recovering from the storm - one for each victim gunned down on December 14 at the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
"Our only challenge is to raise the money," said Bill Lavin, president of the Firefighters' Mutual Benevolent Association, whose 5,000 members are supporting the $2.1 million initiative on the website thesandygroundproject.org.FULL STORY
Frank Lautenberg, the New Jersey Democrat who has served five terms in the U.S. Senate since 1982, will not seek re-election next year when his term expires, the senator said in a statement Thursday.
Lautenberg, 89, returned to the Senate in mid-January after missing key votes over a weeks-long absence due to a cold which "turned into the flu, turned into a severe case of bronchitis with fluid in the chest," he said last month.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker formed a Senate campaign committee last month to explore a run for the seat while a Quinnipiac University poll released around the same time found Booker would lead Lautenberg 51% to 30% in a head-to-head matchup.FULL STORY