Careless smoking reportedly is a possible cause of the Point Pleasant Beach motel fire that killed four people Friday as survivors await the identification of the victims.
Al Delle Fave, spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, said he hopes to have the names of the victims by Monday.
The raging motel blaze that left four people dead and eight others injured in Point Pleasant on Friday morning may have been caused by careless smoking, sources familiar with the investigation told The Star-Ledger this weekend.
Investigators do not believe the fire that consumed the Mariner's Cove Inn, a two-story structure that was home to several residents who were displaced by Hurricane Sandy, was started intentionally, according to the Star-Ledger sources, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case.
Survivors, meanwhile, anxiously awaited news about people who were staying at the hotel, but haven't contacted anybody since the fire.
The last time Myran Alberti spoke with her son, he’d just been released from jail and reunited with his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Keri Anderson, at Mariner’s Cove Motor Inn, where the two had been staying, according to The Asbury Park Press.
Alberti’s son, a 45-year-old father of four who on Thursday had finished a stint at the Monmouth County jail, called her at about 6:15 p.m. that day, she said. Less than 24 hours later, she would learn her son was dead, according to The Asbury Park Press.
At this stage of the investigation, no one appeared ready to say Sunday whether fire sprinklers were even required in a building that has housed displaced victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Richard Skinner, former northeast regional manager at the National Fire Sprinkler Association, noted that dispatch calls showed emergency personnel scrambled to bring in additional water as the fire raged.
That dilemma, he said, is a common problem firefighters face when they work to suppress a blaze in a building that lacks adequate and functional fire sprinklers.
"Had it been a sprinkler building, the area of origin would have had sprinklers go off, and then nothing more than two hand lines off the engine could have knocked down what was there," he said.
Al Della Fave, spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, declined to discuss the functionality of sprinklers at the fire, saying it's part of the investigation.
Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Vincent Barrella referred comment on the matter to the prosecutor's office.
Indeed, a YouTube recording of the dispatch calls recounted the possible water dilemma firefighters faced at the Mariners Cover Inn.
"We've gotta get some water supply," one caller said, according to the YouTube recording of the calls. "So I'm thinking if we supply the ladder with this five-inch, and shut down that engine, the borough's engine, we'll get more water out of these other hydrants."
"Just be aware that we do have a collapse in the rear. We're going to make an account for everybody and we're going to stop all room search," another caller replied.