Rescues in Point Pleasant Beach Motel Fire
POINT PLEASANT BEACH — Three people were killed and eight more were injured after a raging motel fire this morning, officials said.
Authorities combing through the burned-out wreckage of the Mariner’s Cove Motor Inn found two more bodies around 8 a.m., police said. One resident had been confirmed dead earlier in the morning.
The search continues — with dogs trained to sniff out cadavers and accelerants, they added.
The fire was called in at 5:42 a.m. and quickly spread out of control, said Capt. Robert Dikun of the Point Pleasant Beach police.
An eyewitness said she saw it one corner of the building, and within minutes, the structure was ablaze.
“Within five minutes, literally, it was in flame,” said the woman, who didn’t give her name, as she searched for two of her friends who were staying at the motel.
Eight people have been hospitalized, Dikun said. Four were taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, with the others were taken to Ocean Medical Center in Brick, and a nearby urgent-care center, the captain said. Injuries were reported from leaps from the second floor of the motel, smoke inhalation, and assorted trauma wounds, Dikun added.
An estimated 20 people were staying at the motel, predominantly those who work in the fishing industry, and building contractors, police said. But the motel’s records burned in the fire – and authorities cannot yet be sure how many were inside, Dikun said.
At the Broadway Bar & Grill, a lounge near the marina that opens at 7 a.m. for fishermen, bartender Mike Donahue said a couple of regular customers live at the Mariner’s Cove. Donahue said he was waiting for a customer from Mariner’s Cove who usually comes in between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. The mood in the bar is grim, Donahue said, as they wait for word on the fire victims.
The fire ignited on the western side of the building, but investigators are still determining exactly how and where it started, Dikun added.
The motel is just two blocks from the Point Pleasant boardwalk.
Star-Ledger staff writers Seth Augenstein and Lisa Rose contributed to this report.
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