Probe continues into fire that destroyed 5 Sea Isle City homes

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Fire rips through homes in Sea Isle City, NJ (Photo: Matt Olive)

SEA ISLE CITY, N.J. Authorities continued their investigation Saturday into a Friday-afternoon fire that destroyed five vacation houses along the 7800 block of Pleasure Avenue in this Shore resort.

Police said investigators would return to the scene Monday. No one was injured in the fire, which broke out shortly before 4:30 p.m. Friday.

At its height, the seven-alarm fire brought out 14 local departments and three emergency medical service squads, said Lt. Thomas McQuillen of the Sea Isle City Police Department. The last fire truck left the scene about 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

Firefighters returned at 8 a.m. to put out hot spots, McQuillen said, and to continue the investigation and then seal the scene.

The three structures that housed the five homes were assessed at a total of about $1.3 million, according to New Jersey Division of Taxation records from January 2013, the latest data available. The land itself was assessed at several million dollars.

Real estate search engines indicate similar homes in the area have sold in the last year for $1 million to $2 million.

Nine other properties were affected to some degree by the fire, with damage including melted siding and blown-out windows.

None of the homes was a primary residence, and only one was occupied at the time of the fire. The residents were evacuated, McQuillen said.

Calling the investigation active and ongoing, McQuillen said he could not predict when the cause and point of origin would be clear.

"With these things, it could be days," he said.


jlai@phillynews.com

856-779-3220 @elaijuh

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