Fatal House Fire Under Investigation In Manchester, NJ

March 19, 2023

MANCHESTER, NJ (OCEAN)–On March 19, 2023, at approximately 6:51pm, the Manchester Police Department received a call for a structure fire on Heron St located in the Cedar Glen West section of the Township.  Several patrol officers responded and observed the residence to be fully engulfed in flames.  Residents from the adjoining quadplex and surrounding buildings were quickly evacuated.  Upon arrival, officers were told by a family member that another family member was still inside of the burning home.  Officers attempted to make entry into the residence where they were met by heavy smoke and heat and they were unable to get in the home to rescue the resident inside.

            As a result of attempting to get inside of the home, three police officers and the reporting family member were taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.  Multiple Fire Departments from Manchester, Whiting, Ridgeway, Joint Base, Lakehurst, Toms River, and Cassville responded to extinguish the fire.  Manchester Emergency Medical Service responded to assess the residents and officers for smoke inhalation. 

Detective Adam Emmons of the Manchester Police Investigations Bureau, Detective John Doran of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and the Ocean County Fire Marshall are investigating this incident.  Also assisting with the investigation is the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Crime Scene Unit and the Ocean County Medical Examiner.  Manchester Emergency Management Coordinator Robert Sharry and the American Red Cross also responded to assist with the incident.  At this point in time, the cause and origin of the fire is unknown as the case is actively being investigated.  The identity of the decedent will not be released due to pending notification to the decedent’s next of kin.  

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on March 19, 2023, at approximately 6:50 p.m., Officers from the Manchester Township Police Department and Manchester Township Fire Departments were dispatched to a reported structure fire on Heron Street.  First Responders were able to rescue a female victim from the fire. The victim was transported to Community Medical Center in Toms River, and is currently listed in critical condition.  During the primary search of the residence, the body of a deceased female was discovered.  The decedent’s body was transported to Community Medical Center for a post mortem examination and identification. Three Manchester Township Police Officers were transported to Community Medical Center where they were treated for smoke inhalation and released.

The origin and cause of the fire are currently under investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Manchester Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, and Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Additional information will be released to the public as it becomes available.

Above photos and video by: Ryan Mack, Jersey Shore Fire Response

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