Lakewood fire damages 16 apartments, sends 3 to burn center
LAKEWOOD — At least 16 apartments were damaged, with five police officers hospitalized and released, in an overnight fire at an condo complex as members of the community scrambled to make sure the children who lived there were ready for the first day of school.
Township Committeeman Meir Lichtenstein said in a video posted by the Lakewood Scoop that the fire was first reported just before 1 a.m. at the High Point condo complex on Prospect Street.
Five police officers suffered minor smoke inhalation after going door to door making sure residents got out, Lichtenstein said in the video. The officers were released from a hospital and returned to the complex after being checked over, according to Lichtenstein.
Two adults and a child were hospitalized with severe injuries at Monmouth Medical Southern Campus in Lakewood and later transported to area burn centers, according to Lakewood police spokesman Lt. Gregory Staffordsmith.
Staffordsmith said firefighters brought the blaze under control in two hours. Firefighters were still at the scene as of 5 a.m. looking for potential hot spots that could flare up again, according to Lichtenstein.
Volunteers from Red Cross New Jersey assisted 35 residents from nine families with temporary housing, food, and clothing following the fire. Most of the apartments will require extensive repairs before residents can return, according to spokeswoman Diane Concannon
Lichtenstein said the township fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.
Superintendent Laura Winters and district Michael Inzelbuch pulled together resources to quickly make sure public and charter school students were ready for school despite the fire.
In a letter on the district website Winters said Jennifer Patella of the Oak Street School was out early purchasing new clothes for the children who attended Oak Street and Lakewood High School. Jay's Busing sent extra buses to pick up students and Bagel Nosh provided breakfast for residents.
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