On Saturday morning, October 22, 2016, at approximately 6:53 a.m., officers from the Manchester Township Police Department responded to 45 Fox Street in the Pine Ridge section of the Township for the report of a possible structure fire. Upon the arrival, officers observed heavy smoke and flames coming from the rear of the single family residence.

Shortly thereafter, the responding officers determined that the residence was unoccupied as everyone had already evacuated the home safely prior to their arrival.  The Whiting Volunteer Fire Department arrived on scene and quickly extinguished the fire and ventilated the residence to help clear the smoke out. Firefighters were also able to locate the family’s pet cat which was trapped in the residence and removed it before it suffered any injuries. Members of Quality First Aid, who had also responded to the scene, evaluated the homeowners for injuries. After being evaluated, they were reunited with their cat and released after refusing additional medical treatment.

Manchester Township Building Inspector Gary Loftus responded to the scene and determined that the residence was uninhabitable. As a result, the displaced homeowners went to stay with family.

The exact cause of the fire has not yet been determined, though it appears to have started in the area of the furnace and water heater and likewise appears to be accidental in nature. It remains under investigation by Ocean County Fire Marshall’s Office.