BRICK – New Jersey State Police have determined that arson is the cause of the major fire that swept through parts of the Garden State Parkway on Wednesday, and they are currently searching for the suspects responsible.
Troopers arrived to the area of milepost 91 in Brick Township around 5 p.m. on January 19 after receiving reports of the fire.
After a preliminary investigation, detectives determined that the fire was started by several people, possibly juveniles, within a drainage culvert that runs underneath the Garden State Parkway between the 91 north entrance ramp to the 91 south exit ramp.
According to police, the fire started in the south side opening of the culvert and the alleged suspects were seen running into the Evergreen Woods Park Apartment Complex that runs parallel to the Garden State Parkway.
Due to the fire, traffic began to build up around 6:30 p.m. and police detoured the southbound traffic at Exit 98 in Wall while the northbound traffic was diverted at Exit 91 when the flames grew larger.
Several drivers told Jersey Shore Online that their commute took as long as 4 hours, with many cars left at a standstill as traffic grew to nearly 8 miles long.
State Police put out a notice this morning at about 7 a.m. stating that both northbound and southbound lanes of the Parkway had finally reopened.
Anyone who may have witnessed the incident, the events leading up to it or any other information is urged to contact the Troop “D” Criminal Investigation Office-Holmdel Station at 732-441-4576. Anonymous tips are welcome.
The Brick Township Police Department commend the hard work and efforts of the Fire Departments, the EMS, the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, the NJ State Police and the Port Authority Police.
“Yesterday’s fire was dangerous and caused significant traffic problems for several hours. We want to both acknowledge the multi-agency efforts at fighting and containing the fire and ask the community for some assistance in the ensuring arson investigation,” Brick Police said in a Facebook post. “As a result of everyone’s teamwork and quick thinking, there were no reported injuries and no property damage to area homes or vehicles.”