A rapidly moving fire tore through a motel on the Jersey Shore, killing three and setting off a search for as many as 10 people who remained unaccounted for, officials said Friday.
The fire was reported about 5:30 a.m. Friday at the Mariner's Cove Motor Inn in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. Most of the two-story wood motel was destroyed in the fire, officials said.
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato told reporters that three males died in the fire and at least eight people were injured. Several of the injured were taken to hospitals with serious burns, he said.
The fire was brought under control by 7 a.m. but television images showed firefighters continuing to pour water into the structure, located about two blocks from beach.
Coronato said the search and recovery phase of the investigation would continue until officials were certain that all 40 people believed to have been in the motel were accounted for. Officials cautioned that the figure of 10 people missing was based on the best available information of those in the facility and that some may have fled and are safe.
A woman who stayed in a hotel room shower when the fire erupted was the only person rescued, officials said. The woman broke through a window and climbed down a ladder put up by firefighters.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.
Joe Frystock of Brick Township told WNBC-TV News in New York that he was displaced by Hurricane Sandy and had been staying at the motel since December. He said some others staying at the motel were also Sandy victims.
Frystock had a room on the ground floor. He said it appeared the fire started on the second floor.