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Mount Laurel Man Killed In Point Pleasant Beach Motel Fire

A 66-year-old Mount Laurel man was among the four people killed in a fire that ripped through a Point Pleasant Beach motel on Friday, leaving the structure in charred ruins.

The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office said the four deceased victims all died of smoke inhalation. The medical examiner is continuing the forensic investigation to definitively achieve positive identifications, county Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said.

The victims were: John Alberti, 45, of Keansburg; Paulo Martins, 20, of South River; Harold Ford, 52, of Twin Lake Heights, Neptune; and Albert Sutton, 66, of Mount Laurel.

An improperly disposed cigarette caused the fire to break out in a designated smoking area on the second floor of the Mariner's Cove Motel in Point Pleasant Beach early last Friday morning.

Coronato said Monday in a statement that investigators narrowed down the origin of the fire to a stuffed chair located along the east wall of the smoking area.

A team of investigators from federal, state, county and local agencies arrived at their findings thanks to the expert forensic assistance of the Ocean County High Tech Crime Unit in recovering critical video from the severely damaged motel surveillance system, Coronato said. As the investigation moves forward, the team will continue to analyze the recovered video, pre and post scene photos, along with interviews of motel guests and management.    

"This is only the beginning of an intensive investigation aimed at answering the many questions surrounding all the circumstances that contributed to the tragic deaths, injuries and loss of property," said Coronato.

The statement Monday did not address whether or not there were sprinklers or other fire suppression systems in the motel.

A final fire report will be issued after interviews are conducted with local code officials, representatives of the Medical Examiner’s Office, and surviving motel guests, Coronato said.

Those who suffered injuries in the fire were also identified. Most have been treated and released from area hospitals, including:

Killol Shah, 25, who suffered cuts to hands and face and was treated and released from Jersey Shore University Medical Center; Karl Green, 60, who suffered burns to his arm and neck and was treated and released from Jersey Shore; Melanie Deieso, 22, who suffered second degree burns and is still being treated at the St. Barnabas Burn Center; Alexis Scarpone, 20, treated and released from Ocean Medical Center; James Gianuzzi, 51, treated and released from Ocean Medical Center; Frank Smith, 51, who suffered burns to his shoulder and back and was treated and released at the scene.

Another victim, Keri Anderson, 42, is still in critical condition at St. Barnabas after being transferred there from Jersey Shore.

The investigation is ongoing, officials said, and anyone with information regarding the fire is asked to contact Detective Thomas Haskell, Jr. of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-929-2027 or the confidential tip line atwww.oceancountyprosecutor.org.
John March 25, 2014 at 10:55 AM
Most people don't realize that these "shore" hotels are used to house a lot of guys that are basically one step from being indigent. I see it down Cape May County in All Indian owned hotels along the shore line. I can't blame them (Indians) it basically is guaranteed income for them. The state gives these guys 30 days and then they have to move to the cousins hotel accross the street. They get script to buy food and of course free health care . Most are alcoholic or drug addicts or both. Some are just released from jail. These guys get wacked and then pass out with the old burning cigarette . Last year a hotel right off the parkway near Wildwood had a big fire. From time to time they find these guys deceased in the rooms.
Loretka March 25, 2014 at 08:37 PM
I wonder if that smoker feels any guilt ?
Brian N March 25, 2014 at 09:32 PM
Yeah, they should just shoot all those lazy homeless people and save us all a lot of money. What would Jesus do, right?
Skitch March 25, 2014 at 09:42 PM
A lot of the shore motels are housing displaced people who are still out of their homes from the Sandy storm.
Loretka March 25, 2014 at 11:00 PM
They are homeless through no fault of their own. It's a darn shame that they have to suffer losing again.


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