🔥 The fire spread quickly and engulfed the entire two story house

🔥 The second floor collapsed into the first floor

🔥 The identity of a man found inside has not yet been disclosed


MANCHESTER — A fire that destroyed a house and left one person dead Monday night likely started because of improperly discarded smoking materials.

The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Squad and the Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office said the fire on Laketree Court in Manchester Monday night was called in around 8:30 p.m. It started on the front porch and spread quickly fully engulfing the two-story house by the time firefighters arrived.

Parts of the first and second floors collapsed into the basement causing the house to be deemed unsafe for an investigation until Tuesday.   The body of a man found inside was taken to Community Medical Center in Toms River to be examined and identified.

Fire investigators ruled the fire was accidental.

Home in the Pine Lake Park section of Manchester after a fire 7/25/23
Home in the Pine Lake Park section of Manchester after a fire 7/25/23 (The Lakewood Scoop)

Smoking materials blamed for three fires

Neighbors told News 12 New Jersey the homeowner, a man in his mid-60s who has mobility issues, lived alone in the house.

It's the third fire in Ocean County in the past two months to be blamed on improperly extinguished smoking material this month.

Smoking material left on a third floor balcony at the Fairways at Bey Lea Apartment Complex in Toms River on July 15 was determined by the prosecutor's office to be the cause of a fire that displaced over 30 residents.

A fire at a home on Tortola Street in Berkley Township on May 10 that fire investigator said originated on a recliner was caused by smoking. A 59-year-old man was found on the floor inside the home and later died at Community Medical Center in Toms River.

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