🔥 The fire started around 10 a.m. underneath a mobile home

🔥 A woman who lived in the home was found in a back bedroom

🔥 It's the third fatal fire this week in Ocean County


 

PLUMSTED — Electrical equipment is being blamed for a mobile home fire Wednesday that left a woman dead and her husband hospitalized in Ocean County's third fatal fire this week.

The fire was reported underneath the residence on Lakewood Road in Plumsted around 10 a.m. with one person inside and another outside, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer.

Paul Hakos, 79, who was outside at the time of the fire, was taken to CentraState Medical Center in Freehold Township and was in stable condition Thursday afternoon.

Catherine Hakos, 63, was found in a back bedroom. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Bllhimer said that failure of energized electrical equipment could not be eliminated as the cause of the fire, which was ruled accidental.

NEFD Deputy Chief Matt Sams points out fire details to committeeman Len Grilletto with OEM Coordinator Alex Tkacenko
NEFD Deputy Chief Matt Sams points out fire details to committeeman Len Grilletto with OEM Coordinator Alex Tkacenko (Jennifer Hlubik, The New Egypt Press)
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Fire burned fast because of clutter

Video of the home shows damage to a fence and a neighboring mobile home whose windows were knocked out. Parts of the siding are bulging because of exposure to flames and heat. An outdoor shed collapsed.

Catherine Hakos' nephew told the New Egypt Press that flames were shooting out of an electrical box and spread quickly because of a large amount of clutter in the home.

Committeemen Len Grilletto and Mike Hammerstone told the New Egypt Press that the township and the Plumsted Township Republican Club would likely set up a GoFundMe page to help the family.

Mobile home on Lakewood Road in New Egypt after a fire 10/31/23
Mobile home on Lakewood Road in New Egypt after a fire 10/31/23 (Jennifer Hlubik, The New Egypt Press)
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Two fires triggered by explosions

Ronald Prichard, 67, died in a fire Wednesday afternoon in a unit inside an apartment building on Sampson Road in Lakewood. The cause of the explosion was determined to be the release of natural gas to an open flame in a bedroom, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer.

An explosion early Tuesday morning at a house on Neptune Drive in the Ocean Acres section of Stafford killed Kevin Thomas, 45.

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said Thomas was found outside the house with serious injuries. He died at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia.

Billhimer said the explosion, which left a gaping hole in the roof, was caused by the release of propane from a tank to an open flame in a bedroom.

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