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Video Shows First Stages Of Fatal Point Pleasant Beach Fire

The fire was caused by the improper use of smoking materials by a man who was using opiate drugs and smoking a cigarette, the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office announced Wednesday.

Ocean County Prosecutor's Office/NJ.com embed video
Ocean County Prosecutor's Office/NJ.com embed video
A video has been released of a fatal fire at the Mariner's Cove Motel in Point Pleasant Beach that killed four people.

The fire has been ruled accidental, having been caused by the improper use of smoking materials by a man who was using opiate drugs and smoking a cigarette, the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office announced Wednesday.

That man, John Alberti, 45, was among those who died in the blaze that consumed the building.

The 5:35 a.m. blaze on March 21 was caused by "impaired actions and careless use of smoking materials by long time motel resident John Alberti," a statement from the prosecutor's office said, though the office's investigation found no criminal conduct had taken place and no charges would be filed.

The office's Fire Investigation Task Force, Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato said, combed through video recorded by the motel's heavily-damaged surveillance system and found tape that showed Alberti smoking in the exact area in which the fire erupted – along the east wall of a public smoking lounge in a stuffed chair.

As a result of Alberti’s conduct on the surveillance video, the Ocean County Medical Examiner did a toxicology screen which proved positive for the presence of opiates in Alberti’s system, the statement said.

"This event tragically highlights how the impaired actions of those suffering from narcotic addiction can bring devastation to themselves and innocent unsuspecting individuals around them," said Coronato. "By no means is heroin addiction a victimless crime."

Investigators also determined that the motel was in compliance with all housing, building and fire codes, and that there were no violations in the past five years against the business. There were also smoke detectors in all of the rooms, and through interviews with first responders, investigators determined they were working at the time the fire broke out. The task force also ruled out any financial motivations anyone would have had for starting the fire.

"The combined efforts of the partnering fire investigation team have produced a clear picture of what led to the motels rapid destruction and the tragic death of the four victims," said Coronato.

The case is now considered closed by the prosecutor's office Coronato said, with the investigation determining that there was no criminal conduct that could result in charges being filed against anyone.

The victims, all of whom succumbed to smoke inhalation, were Paulo Martins, 20, of South River; Harold Ford, 51, who lived at the motel; Albert Sutton, 66, who lived at the motel; and Alberti.
A Resident July 03, 2014 at 04:13 PM
If remembering correctly from other stories, the designated smoking area of the motel did not have smoke detectors. Might be why it was designated the smoking area.
McCorry July 03, 2014 at 04:20 PM
Yeah but at about the 3/4 way through the tape there is an awful lot of smoke and even flame outside the motel and yet no people running around. I would hope by then the alarms were going off.
A Resident July 03, 2014 at 09:35 PM
Are there smoke detectors outside, where the smoke and flame is?
McCorry July 04, 2014 at 03:44 PM
Don't be silly Resident. With all that smoke and a raging fire in the smoking room there should have been alarms going off in some of the rooms.
A Resident July 06, 2014 at 12:12 PM
Pretty sure its hard for smoke to enter through closed doors into a room to activate the smoke detector when there is plenty of open space for the smoke to spread instead.


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