One Person Killed in Lakewood Tent City Fire


lakewood-tent-cityLakewood, NJ – Authorities say one person was killed when a fast-moving fire swept through a homeless encampment in Lakewood, New Jersey, the Ihr Hatorah. Officials have not yet identified the badly burned body, which was found shortly after the blaze was extinguished Saturday night. Further details on the victim were not immediately disclosed due to the ongoing investigation.

No one else was hurt in the fire, which broke out around 7:45 p.m. in an area off Route 88 in Lakewood. Firefighters had to go through areas of heavy brush to reach the blaze, which also forced Conrail to briefly stop train traffic in the area.

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and Lakewood police are investigating.

The following is the Asbury Park Press report of the story:

One person died last night during a fire that swept through parts of the homeless encampment some 100 feet off Route 88 near the Conrail railroad tracks, officials said.

The fire was first reported near 7:48 p.m., Lakewood Police Department Sgt. Glenn Clayton said. Conrail was immediately contacted in order to shut down service near the area.

“It took the (Lakewood) fire department a while to reach fire because of the heavy brush,” Clayton said. “They had to use the fire department’s brush truck to clear the area first.”

Once the fire was extinguished, officials discovered the individual, Clayton said.

“We have not identified the person yet because the body was burned pretty badly and without records it is more difficult,” Clayton said.

The camp is said to be the original site of what has since become known as ‘Tent City,’ Clayton said.

There are about five or so homeless camps in the Lakewood and Toms River area.

In February 2009, a similar fire at the same site claimed the life of Rev. James Wilcox, an advocate for the poor. A few months later, another fire at a homeless camp behind 100 Ocean Ave. left 45-year-old Mark Reeves with burns covering over 18 percent of his body.

Lakewood offiicials said that the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Ocean County Sheriff’s Criminal Investigation Unit, Lakewood Detective Sgt. Steve Allaire and Det. Joseph Gregg are handling the investigation.

{Dov Newscenter}


  1. It is nice to see the city of Lakewood being addressed respectably. More than an Ihr Torah, it is the center of the Jewish world!