Fatal Fire Destroys Motel, Displaces Superstorm Sandy Victims - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Fatal Fire Destroys Motel, Displaces Superstorm Sandy Victims



    Motel Fire Victims Find Refuge

    Victims from the Point Pleasant Beach fire at a motel are receiving assistance from the American Red Cross and businesses. (Published Saturday, March 22, 2014)

    A New Jersey family is reeling after a fire that killed four people destroyed the motel where they were staying Friday, nearly 18 months after they lost their home to Superstorm Sandy.

    "I lost two good friends, lost a place to live, as far as I know I lost all my clothes," said Gary Wardell, one of the victims of the blaze that broke out around 5:30 a.m. Friday at Mariner's Cove Motor Inn in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.

    Many of those displaced by the fire, like Jiannuzzi and Wardell, are staying at the White Sands Oceanfront Resort & Spa in Point Pleasant Beach until they figure out their next move.

    James Jiannuzzi, another victim, is trying to stay positive despite the tragedy.

    "I went through Sandy," he said. "I was right on the beach. I had a condo and I lost everything."

    Jiannuzzi, who has also lost a child, asked, "How much can you handle? But you just have to move forward."

    The American Red Cross is assisting as many as 27 people affected by the fatal inferno and several local businesses have donated food to help those displaced.

    Ocean County Prosecutor's Office have not yet released the names of the four men who were killed in the blaze. A medical examiner conducted autopsies Saturday, but authorities are unsure when the results will be ready.

    Eight others, including one first responder, suffered injuries ranging from burns to smoke inhalation to broken bones.

    Federal, state and local authorities sifted through debris Saturday as part of an investigation into the fire's cause.

    Crews spent part of the day focused on a second-floor corner room, where the fire may have ignited.