The body of a fourth person has been found in the fire debris of the Mariner’s Cove Motor Inn in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.
The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office says the body was found late this afternoon and that at this point they believe all remaining occupants are accounted for. All four fatalities were adult males. No positive identifications have been made, and officials have not yet notified next of kin.
Officials say eight people were injured during the blaze at 50 Broadway, including a first responder who suffered a broken ankle. Other reported injuries include smoke inhalation, burns, and a broken nose.
The Toms River Fire Department Technical Rescue Team, which is part of the New Jersey State Police Urban Search and Rescue Team, is at the scene and assisting in the investigative effort, according to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and members of the New Jersey State Police Arson Unit and Ocean County Arson Task Force are also at the scene.
Investigative efforts are underway to determine the origin and cause of the deadly fire.
Early morning fire
The blaze was reported at about 5:30 a.m. Friday, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said at a late morning press conference. The two-story wood structure was engulfed by flames when firefighters arrived. The fire spread quickly, according to investigators, because of the motel’s wood structure and gusty winds coming off the ocean.
The two-alarm blaze was declared under control shortly after 7:00 a.m, the prosecutor said. Crews were inspecting smoldering areas and dousing hot spots at 7:30 a.m.
Point Pleasant Beach Fire Chief A.J. Fox said firefighters rescued a woman who escaped flames by running into a shower and running the water. One man jumped from a second story window after flames became too intense, according to numerous published reports.
About 40 people were staying at motel at the time of fire, according to Coronato, including numerous displaced Superstorm Sandy victims.
The motel, located near the Manasquan River, opened in 1985, according to the establishment’s website.
The Associated Press contributed to this report