By DON STINE
A spectacular daytime fire on Main Avenue in historic Ocean Grove Fri., Feb. 6 right in the center of its small business district, resulted in the destruction of four street-level businesses and seven apartments.
The four-alarm fire, that had flames shooting through the roof of the three-story building, was at 50 Main Avenue. The fire was reported about 3:30 p.m. Firefighters got additional water to fight the flames by running extra hoses to Fletcher Lake, eight blocks away.
Businesses destroyed in the fire include Fusion Jewelry, Village Kloset, Smuggler’s Cove, and Yvonne’s Cafe, along with the seven apartments above them.
The building owners say they plan to rebuild.
The Barbaric Bean coffee and apartments at 48 Main Ave. and an apartment building at 56 Main Ave. sustained fire, water or heat damage and will need repairs before the tenants can return. The fire also spread to the exterior of a nearby building on Heck Avenue.
No residents were injured during the fire but about four firefighters suffered minor injuries.
Various pets — a dog, at least one cat, a turtle and a snake — died in the fire and about two dozen residents were displaced by the fire.
“The Red Cross was helping to place them at various locations but some found family and friends to stay with and others were placed by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association and other locals,” said Michael Bascom, coordinator for the Neptune Office of Emergency Management.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Neptune Township Police and Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating the cause, which has still not been determined.
An estimated 200 firefighters from 10 to 12 fire companies reported to the scene on Friday.
Some local fire departments, like Wanamassa and Deal, were not called to the scene. Some departments are only called depending on the size of the fire.
“This was at least a three-alarm fire but fire departments, like Deal and Wanamassa, are not included in the first four alarms so we don’t strip the whole area of fire equipment. That is not an uncommon practice,” Bascom said.