Infant and teen among 4 killed in Ocean County house fire

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, August 2, 2023
Community rallies behind family after 4 killed in New Jersey house fire
An investigation is underway after an infant and teen were among four people killed after a roof collapsed during a fire on Buttonwood Drive in Lacey Township. Crystal Cranmore has the latest details.

OCEAN COUNTY, New Jersey (WABC) -- A fire in New Jersey that left four people dead on Tuesday has been ruled accidental and officials have identified the victims.

The fire was reported around 12:30 p.m. at a building on Buttonwood Drive in the Lanoka Harbor section of Lacey Township.

First responders rescued 67-year-old Brenda Wright from the back of the home. She was taken to the hospital and is said to be stable.

Crews learned there were four people still inside and as they tried to rescue them, the roof collapsed -- forcing firefighters to evacuate.

"It is with great sadness that I must report the loss of Jennifer Wright, 39; Alaina Wright, 34; a 14 year-old female victim; and a 4 month-old infant, all of whom were occupants of the residence, and perished in the fire. This is an unspeakable tragedy, and our prayers are with the loved ones of these victims," Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said Wednesday.

A thorough investigation reveled the fire started on the porch. Officials said improperly discarded smoking material cannot be eliminated as the cause of the fire.

Neighbors say the house went up in seconds.

"It was such a large explosion, my dogs were barking, we came out and everything was just black smoke," neighbor Alicia Kemp said. "There were more explosions, maybe seven other ones after that. It was awful."

Billhimer said they have ruled the fire to be accidental.

ALSO READ | New Jersey Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver dies at 71

New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who was serving as acting governor, has died after being taken to a hospital for an undisclosed medical issue.


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More New Jersey news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.