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Point Beach Motel Fatal Fire; Calls For More Water, Search For 'Unaccounted'

Some survivors - including displaced victims of Hurricane Sandy - shared their stories of intense heat and near panic as the fire ripped through the motel

By Tom Davis, Adam Hochron and Daniel Nee

Emergency personnel scrambled to bring in additional water and "account" for all potential victims Friday as the Point Pleasant Beach blaze that killed four people ripped through the Mariners Cove Motor Inn.

"We've gotta get some water supply," one caller said. "So I'm thinking if we supply the ladder with this five-inch, and shut down that engine, the borough's engine, we'll get more water out of these other hydrants."

"Just be aware that we do have a collapse in the rear. We're going to make an account for everybody and we're going to stop all room search," another caller replied.

Investigators have found a fourth deceased victim in the rubble of the Mariners Cove Motor Inn in Point Pleasant Beach, which was destroyed in a fire early Friday morning.

Like the three fire victims who died earlier Friday, the fourth was also a male, said Al Della Fave of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office.

As of early Saturday, no positive identifications had been made and no next-of-kin notifications have been made for any of the victims, said Della Fave.

Some survivors - including displaced victims of Hurricane Sandy - shared their stories of intense heat and near panic as the fire ripped through the motel.

Frank Smith, 72, who was displaced by Hurricane Sandy, said there was commotion from the second floor that woke him up. He first thought it was a fight, similar to one that drew police about a month ago, according to The Asbury Park Press.

“I saw ashes and embers raining down and I thought, ‘Christ, I better get out’ ... I was so scared, I didn’t think to grab my stuff,” he told The Asbury Park Press. “...The embers were pouring out when I opened the door.”

Della Fave said the Toms River Fire Department Technical Rescue Team, which is part of the New Jersey State Police Urban Search and Rescue Team, were on site and assisting in the investigative effort. 

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is also on site along with members of the NJ State Police Arson Unit and Ocean County Arson Task Force, Della Fave said.

"Investigative efforts have commenced to determine the origin and cause of the fire," Della Fave said.

The fire, which was the subject of more than 15 calls to 911 at about 5:33 a.m., collapsed the roof of the motel where about 40 people were staying, authorities have said. The blaze was brought under control at 7:04 a.m.

In addition to the four people who died, eight were taken to hospitals, including one to the St. Barnabas Hospital burn center in Livingston.
Dame Bridgid March 23, 2014 at 11:54 AM
Please take off your caps lock. Your "shouting" is rude.
Thomas A. Blasi March 23, 2014 at 01:12 PM
Is it possable that the fire was caused by someone smoking in their room! Did anybody give this a thought?
Nancy March 23, 2014 at 04:16 PM
75 miles away
Av March 23, 2014 at 07:41 PM
Do they get camel parking zones at 7-11?

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