PHOTO: Andrew Mayer - photo courtesy NJ State Police
KEYPORT, NJ - Firefighters responded to numerous 911 calls beginning at 3:51pm, on Friday, April 8, 2016, reporting a fire at 43 West Front Street in Keyport.
Firefighters arrived on scene of the four-alarm fire with flames showing from three structures at 43 and 45 West Front Street. As firefighters battled the blaze from inside and outside, a partial building collapse occurred inside forcing firefighters to move their fire suppression efforts to outside the building for safety purposes. Two (2) firefighters received non-life-threatening injuries during the collapse were sent to the hospital for treatment.
Witnesses at the scene reported a man was doing roofing work on the building just prior to the fire. He has been identified as Andrew Mayer, 28, of Toms River. He has been charged with Working without a Permit, Working without a License, and Driving without a License, all disorderly persons offenses. He was released on his own recognizance.
The investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office, Keyport Police Department and Keyport Fire Prevention Bureau remains active and ongoing. No determination has been made about the cause of the fire.
Three structures have extensive fire damage: 43 West Front Street, front and rear, and 45 West Front Street. Buildings were all connected and included commercial and residential spaces with 3 apartments. Heavy equipment was eventually brought in to assist in firefighting fire down structure based on dangerous conditions.
About 200 firefighters were on scene and assisting. A total of eight (8) firefighters were hospitalized, plus a Salvation Army worker, due to injuries sustained at the fire. All were non-life threatening injuries. No citizen injuries were reported. The Salvation Army and American Red Cross are assisting residents with housing.
The Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office and its Office of Emergency Management, Mobile Command Unit (Field Comm), and Monmouth County EMS Task Force, as well as fire companies from Keyport, Aberdeen, Cliffwood Beach, NWS Earle, Hazlet, Holmdel, Matawan, Middletown, North Centerville, Sayreville, West Keansburg, and Union Beach responded to the scene.