Update 3:46 p.m.: NBC News reports that a fourth person has been killed in the fire.
A New Jersey motel than housed residents displaced by Hurricane Sandy was destroyed by a fire on Friday, killing four people and injuring eight others.
As USA Today reports, seven of the injuries were sustained after people leapt from the second floor of the two-story motel to escape the fire. One of the injured, an Ocean County Sheriff’s officer, broke his ankle while responding to the fire. Three of the dead are men, and authorities say that ten people are still unaccounted for.
The fire at the Mariner’s Cove Motor Inn in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. was reported between 4:30 and 4:45 a.m, and about 50 firefighters were on the scene by 8 a.m. The motel is two blocks from the beach along the Jersey Shore, and houses mainly workers from the fishing industry, as well as building contractors, Fox News reports.
Joe Frystock, one of the Sandy-displaced still living at Mariner’s Cove, had to leave his home it was flooded with six feet of water during Superstorm Sandy. Speaking with Fox News, Frystock said he heard a woman screaming for help in the unit next door; she was eventually taken out by firefighters to be treated for severe burns.
One Point Pleasant Beach resident, Tom Vogel, told the Asbury Park Press that the motel had no concrete walls, which meant the fire went up “very, very fast” like “a Christmas tree.”
Because the manager’s office was destroyed by the fire, there has been no way to get records of the residents at the motel, said Vincent Frulio, an arson investigator with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. He added that dogs trained to detect dead bodies and accelerants were being brought to the scene.
There were 40 people registered at the motel, and the investigation will continue until they are all accounted for, said Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato. Adjacent buildings were also damaged by the fire, and the cause of the blaze remains under investigation.