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Fatal Point Beach Motel Fire Ruled Accidental, Caused by Smoking Man on Opiates

Man who caused fire died in the blaze, investigators say

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo
A fatal fire at the Mariner's Cove Motel in Point Pleasant Beach that killed four people 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.
Heywood July 03, 2014 at 12:27 PM
@ Berkeley Lifer, To my surprise, one hundred storeys high People getting loose now Getting down on the roof I tell ya', the folks were screaming There was a, there was a out of control, yeah It was so entertaining when The boogie started to explode I heard somebody say (Burn, baby, burn) Disco Inferno, yeah
Berkeley Lifer July 03, 2014 at 08:01 PM
Hey, now, huh-huh Hey, hey, hey, no, (Ow, now) Hey, now, huh-huh Hey, hey, hey, no Fire (Uh) (Uh) Fire (It's all about) (Uh, uh) Fire (Woo, woo, woo) Fire
chris Christie July 03, 2014 at 11:39 PM
These hotels should be torn down and these losers should either get a job or live behind bars. The one positive thing about this situation, is that narcan could not be used to save this idiot.
Dame Bridgid July 04, 2014 at 12:27 PM
Social workers who say doing drugs is a victimless crime should be required to read this. His addictions killed them.
fed up July 04, 2014 at 12:50 PM
Damn right!!!!!!

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