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Cigarette Blamed for Shore Motel Fire

Investigators have preliminarily identified an improperly discarded cigarette as the cause of a fatal fire at the Marina’s Cove Motor Inn in Point Pleasant Beach and also identified those killed by the fire.

Mariner's Cove Motor Inn in Point Pleasant Beach following a fire.
Mariner’s Cove Motor Inn in Point Pleasant Beach following a fire. (Ilya Hemlin, Townsquare Media NJ)

According to a release from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, the fire started in a room on the motel’s second floor designated for smoking. The cigarette was left burning in a stuffed chair.

One victim has positively been identified as John Alberti, 45, of Keansburg. The three others, all New Jersey residents, are tentatively identified as: Paulo Martins, 20, of South River; Harold Ford, 52, of Twin Lake Heights/Neptune and Albert Sutton, 66, of Mount Laurel. The Medical Examiner is continuing the forensic investigation to make definitive positive identifications. Accidental smoke inhalation was blamed for all four deaths.

Federal, state, county and local departments Investigators and the Ocean County High Tech Crime Unit were able to recover video from the severely damaged surveillance system in the motel to help identify a cause of the fire which broke out early Friday morning.

“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 Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato in a statement.

The injured in the fire are identified as:

  • Killol Shah, 25 – Cuts to hands and face. Treated at Jersey Shore University Medical Center and released.
  • Karl Green, 60 – Burns to left arm and neck. Treated at Jersey Shore University Medical Center and released
  • Melanie Deieso, 22, – 2nd degree burns to legs. Treated at Jersey Shore University Medical Center and transferred to St. Barnabas Burn Center in stable condition.
  • Alexis Scarpone, 20, treated and released from Ocean Medical Center.  No information on injuries available.
  • James Gianuzzi, 51, treated and released from Ocean Medical Center.  No information on injuries available.
  • Keri Anderson, 42, treated at Jersey Shore University Medical Center and transferred to St. Barnabas Burn Center and remains in critical condition.
  • Frank Smith, 51, scalp burn and 1st degree burns to shoulder and back. Treated and released at the scene.

Coronato asks that anyone with information regarding the fire should call the the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-929-2027 or use the tip section of the Prosecutor’s website oceancountyprosecutor.org.

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