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East Dover House Fire Was Accidental, Officials Say

Smoke detectors were not working in Coolidge Avenue home, officials say

A fire on Coolidge Avenue in the township's East Dover section was determined to have been accidental, though fire officials said the home – which did not have properly working smoke detectors – is now uninhabitable.

Firefighters got the call of a house fire at about 2:45 p.m. Thursday afternoon, according to Jim Mercready, Director of Toms River Fire Prevention. They found a working fire in a second floor bedroom of the home at 601 Coolidge Avenue and quickly extinguished it, however the room suffered heavy fire damage and the first floor of the home suffered smoke and water damage.

The residents of the home were there at the time the fire started, said Mercready, but escaped after being notified of smoke emanating from the house by neighbors.

Investigators ruled the cause of the fire to be accidental, and "failure of energized electrical devices in the second floor bedroom cannot be eliminated from the cause of the fire," said Mercready.

The investigation also revealed that there were no smoke detectors in the second floor bedroom and the battery in the first floor smoke detector was disconnected, said Mercready.

The home cannot be occupied until repairs are made.

East Dover and Island Heights firefighters fought the blaze.

Mercready said residents are urged to "install, test and maintain operable smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their homes."

"With the pending drop in temperature expected in the area, fire safety is important part of preparing for extreme conditions," he added.

Residents can contact the Bureau of Fire Prevention at 732-240-5153 with any questions.

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