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Fatal South Toms River Fire Started in Basement; Victim Identified

One firefighter still recovering at local hospital

Photo Credit: The Riverside Signal/Facebook
Photo Credit: The Riverside Signal/Facebook
A fire that claimed the life of a 35-year-old South Toms River woman on Monday night started in the basement of the home, investigators have determined.

The body of the victim, Dianna Norwood, who lived in the home that burnt down at 95 S. Main Street, was found in the basement, according to a joint statement issued Tuesday by Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato and South Toms River Chief of Police Andy Izatt.

An autopsy performed Tuesday revealed that Norwood died from smoke inhalation, the statement said.

Investigators determined that the fire was caused by the failure of energized electrical equipment in the basement area of the residence. It has been ruled accidental, the statement said.

In addition to the woman who died, six firefighters were injured while fighting the blaze. All have been released from Community Medical Center except one who was admitted and is now in stable condition there. The firefighter who was admitted has been identified as Lieutenant Joseph Jubert of the Manitou Park fire company. A message on the department's Facebook page said friends were hopeful Jubert would be released by Wednesday after some tests had been run.

The Manitou Park Fire Company, Bayville Fire Department, Pinewald Pioneer Fire Company and Toms River Fire Company No. 2 all responded to fight the fire.

Anyone with information regarding the matter is asked to contact the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Major Crimes Unit or the South Toms River Police Department.

Frank Schapitl May 06, 2014 at 11:41 PM
Daniel thanks for the definition I was wondering too. Such a sad story.
Heywood May 07, 2014 at 05:00 AM
@ JFTR We need more information about the nature of this electrical equipment failure. The initial report stated there were 8 people living in the home. Was the woman living in the basement? and if it was a living area, did it have suitable egress windows? If my initial theory was in error, I do apologize.
Bryan May 07, 2014 at 06:26 AM
condolences to her family. was this a case of just 8 people rooming together or could this have been yet another rehab/ halfway house fire like the one on rt9 a few years back! in that case nobody knew it was there and had too many people living there in unsafe conditions.
Sawdust Makerhere May 07, 2014 at 07:02 AM
@Daniel Nee - thank you for the definition. Given the fact that I really do create a LOT of sawdust in my home workshop (table saw, routers, surface planner etc) I'll now make a habit of unplugging power tools before I call it a day. Live and learn as they say !!!
grace May 07, 2014 at 09:00 AM
sad what a terrible way to die....prayers to family and friends..

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