DENNIS TOWNSHIP — An elderly woman died in an early morning fire Wednesday on Woodbine-Ocean Road View Road that took three fire companies to extinguish.
The cause of the blaze is still undetermined and is under investigation by both the New Jersey State Police and the Cape May County Fire Marshall’s Office.
The woman, who had not been identified as of Wednesday night pending notification of kin, was living in the house alone.
The fire was called in by neighbors at 3:36 a.m. Chief Joe Gurdgiel Jr. of the Ocean View Volunteer Fire Co. said he arrived within four or five minutes at the single-family modular house.
“When I arrived there was no roof left, there was no siding left. It was burning fast,” Gurdgiel said.
Reports from neighbors immediately created concerns that there was a victim inside.
“There was a car in the yard and neighbors said one lady lived there. If the car is there, there is a good chance she is there. Looking at the structure, we were pretty sure it would be a recovery,” Gurdgiel said.
There are no fire hydrants in the area and volunteer fire companies from Dennisville and Seaville helped truck in water and fight the blaze. The three companies knocked down the fire quickly but hotspots were still being put out into the afternoon. Gurdgiel said between 14,000 and 18,000 gallons of water were used.
State Police Lt. Stephen Jones said the woman’s identity is not being released yet as authorities try to locate and notify next of kin. Jones said the State Police’s Arson Bomb Unit is investigating.
Troopers from the Woodbine Barracks were among the first to arrive and said the structure was fully engulfed in flames. Utility companies were called to shut off the natural gas and the electric service.
Gurdgial said firefighters had to contend with a car fire as heat from the blaze ignited the victim’s car. The firefighters kept the fire contained to the property so it did not ignite any other houses in the neighborhood.
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