OCEAN COUNTY – The investigation on the wildfire that destroyed 167 acres of land in Lakewood and Brick Township remains at an impasse, officials said.
The fire broke out on March 14, and took over a day to contain by firefighters. As a result, 29 residential properties were damaged, two commercial buildings were destroyed and a firefighter from the New Jersey Forest Fire Service suffered cardiac arrest after battling the fire overnight.
On March 19, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office determined that the fire was intentionally set. Since then, officials have been hard at work trying to identify a suspect(s). Although the investigation is still ongoing, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer has announced that no new information has been discovered, causing the investigation to reach a standstill.
“Detectives have attempted to interview approximately 60 potential witnesses and reviewed video recordings from cameras in proximity to the fire. The vast majority of these potential witnesses have been less than cooperative with our investigation, and as such, we are currently at an impasse at this point in time. If any member of the public is in possession of information with regard to the March 14 wildland fire in Lakewood and Brick Townships, please contact Sergeant Thomas Haskell of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-929-2027, extension 3953,” Billhimer said.
The investigation is being conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit – Arson Squad, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, Lakewood Township Police Department Detective Bureau and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit.