A raging fire engulfed more than a half-dozen buildings along the Jersey Shore as dawn broke Friday, completely destroying at least four homes and a vacant hotel, officials said.
Firefighters from Asbury Park, Neptune Township and Ocean Grove descended on Lake and Seaview avenues in Ocean Grove after getting a call about the blaze shortly after 5 a.m. Smoke shot up into the sky and over the ocean several blocks away as fire crews raced to the scene.
The fire was so intense shortly after 6 a.m. that it had spread to an adjoining condominium complex, Chopper 4 video shows. By 8 a.m., the smoke had turned white as firefighters made progress on the blaze. Chopper 4 showed the charred remants of the engulfed buildings; hotspots were still visible.
Officials said five buildings were totally decimated by the blaze, including the Warrington, the shuttered hotel where the blaze may have started, three single-family homes and one multi-family home. The LaPierre and Marlboro condo complexes were damaged. Authorities say squatters have been a concern at the Warrington, which is slated for demolition. They planned to search the premises for evidence of squatters once it was safe to do so.
Two firefighters suffered minor injuries; one was treated at the scene for a hand injury and the other was taken to a hospital with chest pains, authorities said. It wasn't clear how many people were displaced by the fire.