A late-night fire in a Toms River apartment complex has temporarily left some residents without a home, but has also led to praise for Good Samaritans and first responders who worked together to ensure the safety of others.
Toms River police, firefighters and EMTs were called to Edgewood Drive for a reported apartment structure fire at 11:20 p.m. Sunday night, police spokeswoman Jillian Messina said.
“Upon arrival, there were many residents already outside and knocking on doors to assist in evacuating the building,” said Messina.
Officers were met by residents Jordan Finkle and Dominic Dowd, who said they just helped rescue a woman from the burning apartment and, although they did not see or hear anyone else, were there was another person inside. Toms River Police Officer Tyler Pinto then climbed onto the balcony of the apartment in an effort to locate the purportedly entrapped person, but did not see or hear anyone in the apartment.
The apartment began billowing black smoke as Pinto exited the balcony, at which point firefighters arrived on scene to extinguish the blaze and secure the building.
The female victim who had been rescued was transported to Community Medical Center for treatment of smoke inhalation.
Once the fire was extinguished, the apartment was again searched multiple times by fire fighters and first responders but there was no sign of anyone else inside, Messina said. Multiple apartments were damaged and deemed uninhabitable as a result of the fire. The American Red Cross was contacted and responded to the scene to help aid the residents.
The cause of the fire is unknown, Messina said, and remains under investigation by the Toms River Bureau of Fire Prevention, the Toms River Police Detective Bureau, and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. Also assisting on scene was the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department CIU, multiple fire companies, and EMTs.
“We would like to acknowledge the quick-thinking and heroic actions of the residents who came together to ensure everyone was able to get out of the apartments safely!” said Messina. “Also, to Samantha Batiato who, along with neighbors, rendered aid to the victim and monitored her condition while waiting for first responders to arrive.”