The fire that killed a Toms River woman Feb. 7 has been ruled accidental by investigators, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office announced Monday.
A post-mortem examination of the victim, identified by sources as local school librarian Sara Trahey, discovered in the remains of the fire was conducted by the Ocean County Medical Examiner on Sunday, the statement said. The results of that examination determined that the manner of death was accidental and the cause of death was smoke inhalation and fire-related injuries.
The announcement did not detail how the fire started.
The prosecutor’s office on Monday said despite wide reports identifying the victim, including an acknowledgment from the Lakewood school district where she worked, the final determination has yet to be made official.
“Although the victim’s identity has been reported by several media outlets and the Lakewood Board of Education, we are in the process of confirming same through medical records,” said Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer. “Please keep in mind what this family is going through at this time. This is a tragedy that no family should ever have to deal with.”
The fire, on 15th Street in the Silverton section, “fully engulfed” the single-family home.
“Upon the arrival of emergency personnel, the structure was fully engulfed with the fire spreading into the four surrounding residences,” the statement said.
A man and three children were able to exit the residence, but the victim was not able to get out in time, according to officials.
“Rescue efforts were attempted by police and fire personnel, but were unsuccessful,” according to the statement. “After the fire was extinguished, a female body was discovered inside the residence.”
A Toms River Township Police Officer was transported to Community Medical Center and treated for smoke inhalation. He was treated and released the next morning.