A deck fire at a Toms River condominium complex spread to two condo units, destroying them as firefighters from multiple towns fought the blaze, which sent plumes of smoke into the air that could be seen for miles.
A cat was rescued from the premises and two firefighters required medical transport after the fire spread from the deck to the residences, police said.
The Laurel Chase development was filled with emergency responders from all six Toms River fire companies as well as Brick, Manchester, Seaside Heights and elsewhere to fight heavy smoke conditions that began just before 2 p.m. Monday.
The fully involved structural fire engulfed 194 Muskflower Court, where two of the four units in the three-story building were destroyed and left in ruins. Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy said the other units sustained smoke and water damage.
"The first 911 call came ... from a resident who stated there was a deck fire at the residence," Mastronardy said.
Smoke was visible throughout Toms River and some parts of Brick as the fire continued for a half hour.
A cat was rescued from another unit by a firefighter, and two other emergency responders were transported to Community Medical Center for minor injuries, Mastronardy said.
A major fire response drew from fire companies throughout Ocean County, to get the fire under control with ladder trucks and hose lines.
In addition to Toms River Fire Company 1 and 2, Silverton Fire Company, Pleasant Plains Fire Company, East Dover Fire Company and Ocean Beach, also responding were Manchester, Ridgeway, Lakewood, Beachwood, Island Heights, Brick and Seaside Heights fire companies.
Sergeant Scott Moeller coordinated the police response to the fire that is being investigated by Detective James Magovern and the Toms River Bureau of Fire Prevention.