TOMS RIVER, NJ – A fire the broke out inside a home in Toms River’s Holiday City Silverton adult community that injured five people could have been prevented, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office reported today.
Two residents inside the home, three firefighters were injured in the blaze Sunday.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said the fire was accidental, caused by “careless smoking while oxygen was in use”.
“On March 20, 2022, at approximately 9:45 p.m., Officers from the Toms River Township Police Department and Toms River Township Fire Department were dispatched to a reported structure fire on Mount Everest Lane,” the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.
During the primary search of the residence, two occupants, later identified as Linda Summerton, 73, and Ricky McMurry, 73, were discovered. Due to the extent of their injuries, both occupants were airlifted to the Burn Center at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey. Mr. McMurry remains listed in critical condition, while Ms. Summerton is listed in stable condition.
During the suppression of the fire, three firefighters received minor injuries and were treated at the scene.
“An extensive investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit-Arson Squad, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, and Toms River Township Bureau of Fire Prevention, determined that the fire was caused by careless smoking while oxygen was in use,” Billhimer said today in a statement.