Silverton house fire has been ruled accidental in its cause
The tragic fire at a home on 15th Street in the Silverton section of Toms River on Friday night has been ruled accidental by Ocean County investigators.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer announced Monday morning that an investigation by the OCPO Arson Unit, OCPO High Tech Crime Unit, Toms River Township Police Detective Bureau and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit has determined that the cause of the structure fire was accidental.
It's not known what led to the accidental fire in the home.
A post-mortem examination of the woman, identified as Sarah Trahey, a public school librarian and mother of three young children by relatives and coworkers, who was discovered in the remains of the fire was conducted by the Ocean County Medical Examiner.
Prosecutor Billhimer said that the results of that examination determined that the manner of death was accidental and the cause of death was smoke inhalation and fire related injuries.
Toms River Police and multiple fire departments responded to a residence in the Silverton section for a report of a structure fire.
When emergency personnel arrived on the scene, the structure was fully engulfed with the fire spreading into the four surrounding residences with wind playing a major factor on Friday night.
Emergency service personnel determined that the structure was occupied by two adults and three children at the time of the fire.
Police and fire crews learned that a male and three children evacuated the residence but a woman remained inside the residence.
Rescue efforts were attempted by police and fire personnel, but were unsuccessful.
After the fire was extinguished, a female body was discovered inside the residence.
A Toms River Police Officer was transported to Community Medical Center and treated for smoke inhalation.
He was treated and released the next morning.
“Although the victim’s identity has been reported by several media outlets and the Lakewood Board of Education, we are in the process of confirming same through medical records. Please keep in mind what this family is going through at this time. This is a tragedy that no family should ever have to deal with,” Prosecutor Billhimer said.
The Trahey Memorial Fund GoFundMe page, which was created Saturday, said Trahey was married with three children ages 2, 7 and 9.
Lakewood schools Superintendent Laura Winters told Townsquare Media News that Trahey was a media specialist working at the Ella G. Clarke School.
"Sara’s many contributions to her students and fellow staff members will truly be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Trahey family at this very difficult time." Winters said in a statement emailed to Townsquare Media News.
In a letter to parents, Winters said Trahey "was an outstanding Educator who cared very deeply about the success and wellbeing of each and every one of her students."
The Silver Bay Elementary PTO, an elementary school in the Silverton section, on their Facebook page remembered Trahey as someone who volunteered for many fundraising events.
The homes that caught fire are not far from the open water of Silver Bay and winds were gusting to more than 30 mph most of Friday evening, according to Townsquare Media New Jersey Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow.
"That combined with the cold temperatures and dry air would make fighting any fire very difficult," Zarrow said.
Previous reporting by Dan Alexander was used in this article.
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