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Fire kills 4 at N.J. motel housing families displaced by Hurricane Sandy

POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J. — A fire Friday destroyed a New Jersey shore motel that was housing people displaced by Hurricane Sandy, killing four people and injuring eight, authorities said.

The blaze erupted at the wooden Mariner's Cove Motor Inn in this popular summer resort town about 5:30 a.m., and flames were shooting out of the building by the time firefighters arrived. At least one person leaped from a second-floor window to escape.

Three people were injured critically. Other injuries included broken bones.

The dead were identified as male adults, but the prosecutor's office said no positive identifications had been made and the cause of the blaze was unknown.

The blaze was the second major fire at the Jersey shore in seven months, following a September blaze that destroyed about a third of the boardwalk in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park. The boardwalk had just been rebuilt after Sandy. It is now being rebuilt — again.

Survivors of Friday's motel fire described a chaotic scene of flames, smoke and screaming.

Peter Kuch said he smelled smoke and opened his door to find a lounge area engulfed in flames. He dialed 911, and by the time the call was completed, the flames were at the door of his second-floor unit. He jumped.

"I had to, there was no other way out," he said. "My window was only open an inch and flames were already starting to come through it. There just was no other choice."

He suffered a sprained ankle.

Fire kills 4 at N.J. motel housing families displaced by Hurricane Sandy 03/21/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 21, 2014 11:43pm]
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