Cause Of Fatal Holiday City Fire Ruled Accidental, Prosecutor's Office Says
70-year-old man died of smoke inhalation and burns
Authorities have identified the 70-year-old man who perished in an early morning fire in his Biabou Drive home and ruled the blaze accidental, Senior Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor Michel A. Paulhus said today.
An autopsy done by the Ocean County Medical Examiner's Office determined that Joseph A. Lasko died of smoke inhalation and burns after the fire broke out around 4 a.m. in his Holiday City home, said Paulhus.
"It's an accidental fire, most likely caused by improper disposal of smoking materials," Paulhus said.
Manitou Park Fire Department Chief Will Jubert said that his squad was dispatched to a home located at 35 Biabou Drive at 4:19 a.m., where they found a structural fire in progress.
“There was heavy fire in the front of the home,” Jubert said yesterday. “Our first engine launched an aggressive, defensive attack, but we were not able to gain access to the home.”
Jubert said that the fire was under control by 5:15 a.m.
Departments which responded to the scene in addition to Manitou Park were Toms River Fire Companies 1 and 2, Bayville Fire Company and Manchester Fire Company, Jubert said.
The wood-frame home was completely gutted, from the main living quarters to the one-car garage, in which stood a burned-out Nissan automobile.
Neighbors on both sides of the residence commented on what they saw and heard Saturday morning.
“I saw the whole thing,” said a neighbor, Ralph Bartolomeo. “It started about a quarter after four this morning, my wife and I were asleep.”
When alerted to the fire, Bartolomeo said that he ran outside and attempted to assist authorities by using his garden hose on the fire, but by then it was too late.