Blaze at Lakewood’s Capitol Hotel Leaves One Dead


lakewood[Update below.] A blaze at Lakewood’s Capitol Hotel, located at the corner of Madison Avenue and Seventh Street, has left one person dead and at least one¬†officer hospitalized. The fire broke out shortly after 3 a.m. in a room on the third floor, according to an eyewitness, and the Lakewood Volunteer Fire Department had the situation under control over an hour and a half later, but not before the hotel suffered extensive fire and smoke damage. Members of Hatzolah, including Committeeman Meir Lichtenstein, were joined at the scene by Chaveirim members and representatives of the Lakewood Civilian Safety Watch and others. has learned that the Sifrei Torah located in the basement bais medrash of the building were thankfully not affected by the fire. Likewise, askanim told that the stores located in the building, including the Yismach Yisroel Ice Cream Parlor, were not affected by the blaze.

Heavy smoke billowed from the building in the pre-dawn hours, as some local residents were awakened by the arrival of the fire engines and medical personnel.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

The Capitol Hotel is one of the oldest remaining landmarks in Lakewood. The building contains, on its basement level, a bais medrash, as well as a seforim store, run by the Taplin family, which contains an extensive collection of new and old volumes for sale.

The hotel also features a simcha hall that is used on a regular basis, as well as a pizza store, Kol Tuv, on the front side of its building. The hotel is often used by visitors from Eretz Yisroel, including meshulachim, who rent rooms on a weekly basis.

The Ocean County Fire Marshall’s office is conducting an investigation into the fire.

Update, 1:01 p.m.: At least 40 to 50 people had to be evacuated last night. Three officers – Patrolmen Edward Miick, Steve Kawolski and Leonard Nieves, Jr. – were taken to Kimball Medical Center for smoke inhalation, were treated, and have been released.

It has not been confirmed whether the dead body was male or female. Sgt. Edward Rupp of the Lakewood Police Department said that the body was found in one of the hotel rooms.

An investigation by Lakewood Police Sgt. Stillwell, the Fire Marshalls Office and Ocean County Prosecutors Office is ongoing.

 Those staying at the hotel will be allowed to go into the hotel this afternoon to retrieve their belongings.

{Noam Newscenter, with reporting by M. Rubin}


  1. I remember the Capitol in its heyday. THings have changed since then but it still has the same homey feeling. Put in a few million bucks and it could really be something like the Avenue Plaza in Boro Park.

  2. what was the LCSW doing there? what exactly could they do at a fire scene? at every incident, why do we need 17 groups – police, fire, hatzolah, chaveirim, safet watch, NAACP, ETC. ETC. ETC.

  3. as long as the ice cream store is okay we’re good. i mean what would we do without the ice scream. forget the fact that a guy died. the main thing is the ice cream is safe.

  4. A human life is a human life – indeed a tzelem Elokim.

    Where do we get this kind of leitzanus, and in Elul, too?

    Who is davening for the heroic firefighter who is in the hospital?

    It’s Elul. Get a grip.

  5. the guy who helped with the maintenence is dead it is suspected that he fell asleep with a lit cigerette in his mouth he was supposedly an antisemite