Three family members, including a young girl, died in a house fire here this morning, officials said.
District Chief John Novak of the Toms River Fire Department said he and Chief Gary Dye of Toms River Fire Company One arrived at 32 Pine Hill Road shortly after a 6:36 a.m. 911 call reported the blaze in the two-story single family home there.
Novak said when a neighbor told them three people might still be inside the burning house, a Toms River police officer forced open the front door and found the first victim, a man, near the entrance. He was dead, Novak said.
Novak said he and Dye could go no further until engines with hoses arrived. When they did, firefighters from Toms River, East Dover and Pleasant Plains fire departments knocked down the blaze and began searching the house, he said.
“Because the stairs had burned away, access was compromised,” said Novak.
But firefighters were able to enter the house with a ladder raised to a bedroom window. Novak said when they searched the second floor, they found the bodies of two females: a child under a bed and an adult in a bathroom. The victims are believed to be immediate family, he said.
A call for a Medevac helicopter requested to fly out possible burn victims was canceled when rescuers determined all three victims were dead, Novak said. Officials are not releasing the victims’ names until next of kin can be notified, he said.