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Four Dead, 10 Unaccounted For After Fire Ravages Point Beach Motel

Authorities now in 'search and recovery' mode

A fire at the Mariners Cove Motor Inn, March 21, 2014. (Photo: Ocean County Prosecutor's Office)
A fire at the Mariners Cove Motor Inn, March 21, 2014. (Photo: Ocean County Prosecutor's Office)
Authorities are now in search and recovery mode following a fire that engulfed the Mariners Cove Motor Inn in Point Pleasant Beach early Friday morning, destroying the building that was being occupied by about 40 people.

The fire, which was the subject of more than 15 calls to 911 at about 5:33 a.m., claimed the lives of three people, all males, said Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato.

The blaze sent eight people to the hospital, four to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune, two to Ocean Medical Center, Brick, and two to the St. Barnabas Hospital Burn Center in Livingston.

Among the injuries suffered were broken bones, smoke inhalation and burns, Coronato said. One victim was an Ocean County Sheriff's investigator who suffered an accident involving a bucket truck. Two victims have already been released from area hospitals.

Coronato said there are about 10 victims still unaccounted for, and authorities are currently trying to track down those people to ensure they escaped safely from the fire, which was brought under control at 7:04 a.m.

"We're trying to totally ascertain who was at the motel at the time, but we do believe it was 40 people," said Coronato.

The motel had a maximum capacity of 100 people spread among 25 rooms.

Daring Rescue by Point Beach Firefighters

Contrary to earlier reports, no one jumped off balconies or out of the windows of the building, and most of the building's occupants evacuated safely, said A.J. Fox, Point Pleasant Beach Fire Chief.

"People were mostly outside of the building on our arrival," said Fox, though firefighters did make one daring rescue of a woman who was trapped in a bathroom.

The woman, said Fox, likely saved her own life by running to a shower in her second-floor room and leaving the water running as firefighters rushed to scene.

"One of our firefighters noticed her in the window and subsequently two firefighters put up a ladder to make the rescue," said Fox. "We had to break the window. There was fire overhead so we had to bring a hose line up to put the fire out."

One firefighters grabbed the woman from a window while another carried her to safety.

"She had the shower running and was in the tub" before firefighters got there, Fox said.

Coronato said the woman may be the victim who is being treated at the burn center.

Investigation About to Begin

The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, Sheriff's Department, local police and the federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agency will investigate the cause of the fire as part of a special task force, Coronato said.

The investigation will likely take several days, he said, due to the fact that the building's roof collapsed and much of the debris will have to be removed by hand.

Though he did not provide details as to whether the building was affected by Superstorm Sandy, Coronato said the investigation will "go towards" that direction, and records will be reviewed to determine whether the motel was outfitted with proper sprinkler and alarm systems.

Firefighters were still on the scene as of about 11:30 a.m. The blaze drew a response from the Point Pleasant Beach, Point Pleasant Borough, Mantoloking, Bay Head, Laurelton and South Wall fire companies.

"I’ve seen some big fires," said an emotional Fox. "I have not seen so many fatalities in a fire like this."
FIMF the ll March 22, 2014 at 10:38 AM
No, I wouldn't say either. Per your request, I asked myself a question, and that is the answer that I came up with.
Heywood March 22, 2014 at 12:44 PM
FIMF I asked myself what you appear to be and the answer I got was that you are a jerk-off.
suz March 22, 2014 at 12:55 PM
Makes me wonder if it was more a section 8 thing and not 'actually' housing for Sandy victims. That would explain the criminals living in that complex. Still sad that some had to die, however, but if it is the fault of the owners, oh boy.
joseph March 23, 2014 at 04:58 PM
monies for Martell's event should still not be going to the public schools. There is 1-5 children that go hungry throughout Ocean/Monmouth County. What does our tax dollars pay for? The system is thE BIGGEST JOKE! I DON'T KNOW WHO IS THE WORST?! THE HASIDIC'S IN LAKEWOOD SCAMMING THE GOVERNMENT OUT OF MEDICARE/MEDICAID, THE HINDU INDIANS DOING THE SAMETHING OR THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM WHICH HAS BECOME THE MONEY PIT BIGGER THAN THE US GOVERNMENTS EXTENDED ARM.
FIMF the ll March 23, 2014 at 05:06 PM
@John Cobb, you slipped that heady bit of intellectualism by me. Ill try and be more attentive-and, by the way- thank you for the endorsement. You're disapproval is welcome.

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