Firefighters struggled to extinguish a blaze possibly caused by lightning that struck a Long Beach Island house as Wednesday’s nor’easter pummeled the shore.
Crews began responding to reports of a fire in the 900 block of Shore Avenue in the Ship Bottom section of the island around 2:10 p.m., said Wes Fritz, a Beach Haven Fire Company volunteer. Video of the fire showed flames and black smoke billowing from top floor windows of the multi-story residence across from the bay. Multiple fire companies and a rescue squad responded to the initial reports.
Heavy flooding on the island made it difficult for firetrucks to reach the home quickly, Fritz said. Firefighters had to wade through more than a foot of water in their stations and the streets, he said.
“The weather reports were terrible,” said Fritz, a firefighter for 44 years. “We were told we would have minor flooding. … We’re just extremely busy now.”
No one was injured as a result of the fire, said Fire Chief Rick Traut of the Ship Bottom Volunteer Fire Company. The incident was under investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and Ocean County Fire Marshall’s Office.
The rare ‘thundersnow’ — a thunder snowstorm mixed with lightning — caused problems elsewhere, too.
Thirty miles away, a 33-year-old teacher was struck by lightning while holding an umbrella around 2:30 p.m. outside of Manchester Township Middle School.