Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on July 24, 2023, at approximately 8:30 p.m., Officers from the Manchester Township Police Department and Manchester Township Fire Departments were dispatched to a structure fire on Laketree Court. Parts of the first and second floors of the structure had collapsed into the basement, and it was deemed unsafe to continue the fire investigation until daylight hours.
On July 25, 2023, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office-Arson Squad, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, Manchester Township Police Department Detective Bureau, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, conducted an investigation into the origin and cause of the fire. The investigation has determined that the fire began on the front porch of the residence, and that improperly discarded smoking material cannot be eliminated as the cause of the fire. The cause of the fire has been ruled accidental.
During the investigation, the deceased body of a male victim was discovered within the collapsed area of the structure. The decedent’s body was transported to Community Medical Center in Toms River for a post mortem examination and identification.
Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office-Arson Squad, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, Manchester Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, New Jersey State Police K-9 Unit, and Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office, for their combined and cooperative efforts in connection with this investigation.