Fire that claimed life of Lakewood School District employee ruled accidental

The fire that claimed the life of a Lakewood School district employee and mother of three has been ruled accidental, officials said today.

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that an investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Toms River Township Police Detective Bureau, and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit has determined that the cause of the structure fire that occurred on February 7, 2020, in the Silverton section of Toms River was accidental. A post-mortem examination of the victim discovered in the remains of the fire was conducted by the Ocean County Medical Examiner on February 9, 2020. 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.

On Friday, February 7, 2020, the Toms River Township Police and multiple fire departments responded to a residence in the Silverton section of Toms River for a report of a structure fire. Upon the arrival of emergency personnel, the structure was fully engulfed with the fire spreading into the four surrounding residences. Emergency service personnel determined that the structure was occupied by two adults and three children at the time of the fire. It was further determined that a male and three children evacuated the residence, however one female remained inside. Rescue efforts were attempted by police and fire personnel, but were unsuccessful. 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.

“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. 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,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.

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