A neighbor reporting a fire in the home where the president of a major southern New Jersey hospital and his wife were found dead told 911 dispatchers that he heard banging coming from inside the house shortly before first responders arrived.
The neighbor can be heard saying that he saw smoke coming from the house and "somebody's trying to get out, they're banging on the door," according to the 911 recording posted Wednesday on NJ.com.
Though the caller may have thought he heard someone banging, subsequent interviews with the caller and the first responding police officer have led investigators to conclude the sounds were from the fire itself, Capt. Jack Bennett, a spokesman for the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office, said in an email.
Investigators ruled that fire had been intentionally set in a Montgomery Township home where 72-year-old John Sheridan lived with his 69-year-old wife, Joyce.
Police and firefighters responded to the couple's home at 6:15 a.m. on Sept. 28. Authorities said the fire was contained to the master bedroom, where firefighters found the unresponsive couple. John Sheridan, president and CEO of Camden-based Cooper University Health Care, was pronounced dead at the scene. His wife was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later.
The cause of their deaths has not been released.