Three people were killed and more than eight others injured after a fire broke out inside a motel near Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, according to CBS News. The Mariner’s Cove Motor Inn, where the fire broke out is a popular location with frequent travelers to the locality. Authorities are looking for other guests who were believed to have been staying there and are yet to be accounted for.
Mariner’s Cove Motor Inn was also being used as a shelter by victims who had lost their homes in Hurricane Sandy. It is not clear at this point if the missing people or the dead are among the people who were displaced by the storm and were staying in the motel.
According to the New York Times, the fire started at around 5:30 am local time. The Point Pleasure Volunteer Fire Department was notified of the same by 5:42 am. By then however, the fire had quickly spread through the motel, most of which was made of wood – almost completely destroying it. By the time the fire department had reached the location, the wooden structures were all completely engulfed in flames.
Attempts to rescue guests suspected to be trapped inside the motel were made – but the flames were simply too intense. One woman was however rescued from a room on the second floor where she had sought refuge in a bathtub with the shower running. The woman cried out for help from a window following which firefighters reached out to her and managed to save her. The unidentified woman is currently undergoing treatment for serious burns. According to CBS, four of the injured have been taken to the Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune. The rest were taken to Ocean Medical Center in Brick. Most of the injuries have been sustained by jumping off the second floor of the motel and from smoke inhalation.
The Fire Department finally managed to bring the blaze under control only by 7 am by when almost the entire structure of the motel was gutted. The fire also caused its roof to collapse thereby making the job of looking for people trapped inside the rooms even more difficult.
With its 25 rooms, across two floors, police estimate that around 40 individuals could have been inside the rooms when the fire broke out. Since the office of the Manager too has been gutted in the fire, there are no records of the tenants staying inside the property.
According to Capt. Robert Dikun of the Point Pleasant Beach police, the fire started off on the western side of the building. Investigators are on the lookout for clues as to how the fire started out. Initial suspicion is centered around the smoking lounge of the motel, situated on the second floor.
[Image via CBS News]