Deadly Jackson fire caused by kerosene heater, deemed accidental

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JACKSON, NJ – Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that the fatal structure fire that occurred on Lehigh Boulevard in Jackson Township on April 1, 2021 has been ruled accidental.

On April 1, 2021, at approximately 8:45 p.m., the Jackson Township Police Department and Jackson Township Fire Department were dispatched to a structure fire with entrapment on Lehigh Boulevard.

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Upon arrival, emergency personnel found the structure to be fully engulfed by flames. Firefighters located the body of an 82 year-old female, later identified as Salvacion Elyea, in the downstairs portion of the residence. She was pronounced deceased at the scene. A second victim jumped from the second story of the residence to escape the fire and received minor injuries. A pet dog has not yet been accounted for. A Jackson Township Police Officer was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation. A second Jackson Township Police Officer was transported to Monmouth Medical Center-Southern Campus in Lakewood, treated for minor injuries, and released.


The Ocean County Medical Examiner has determined the cause of Ms. Elyea’s death to be smoke inhalation, and the manner of her death to be accidental.

A thorough and extensive investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit-Arson Squad, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, Jackson Township Fire Bureau, and Jackson Township Police Department, determined that the fire was caused by a kerosene heater being located in too close  proximity to a combustible liquid.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit-Arson Squad, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, Jackson Township Police Department, Jackson Township Fire Bureau, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Ocean County Road Department, and Ocean County Regional Urban Search Team, for their combined and cooperative efforts in connection with this investigation.

The investigation is being conducted by Trenton Police Detective Nicholas Morgante, along with the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.      

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