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Officials Rule One Berkeley Fire Accidental, The Other Was Arson

"Crossroads" fire off Pinewald-Keswick Road in Berkeley was deliberately set, state says

by Patricia A. Miller

The "Continental" fire that gobbled up over 300 acres in the Pinewald section has been ruled accidental, but the "Crossroads" fire was deliberately set, a state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman said.

The "Continental" fire - which began in a grassy area at the Beachwood border and quickly spread to the Pinewald section of Berkeley Township - was likely started by a discarded cigarette butt, said DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese.

But the "Crossroads" fire off Pinewald-Keswick Road in the pines has been ruled arson, he said.

"We think it was deliberately set and we are investigating," he said. "We believe it was arson."

The "Crossroads" fire destroyed 220 acres.

The two blazes took off on a very windy, dry day last week and forced the evacuation of more than 600 Berkeley residents in the Northern Boulevard area of Pinewald.

The "Continental" was spotted by Beachwood police who noticed a small blaze in a grassy area which quickly spread. A number of cigarette butts were found in the area, Ragonese said.

More than 50 volunteer fire companies and the New Jersey Forest Fire Service fought both the blazes that ripped through the Pinelands last Thursday.

The fires are being investigated by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office and the Berkeley Township and Beachwood police departments, Ragonese said.

Brandy the Dog April 29, 2014 at 09:14 PM
Is it not possible that male John is both?
John E April 29, 2014 at 09:58 PM
Terry..I myself been a volunteer firefighter like I said over 25 years now in this are of OC..don't give me your trash talk about anything that you're to blind to see or just possible part of the wrong.
John E April 29, 2014 at 09:59 PM
Doubt you were out of your diapers 25 years ago!
Brandy the Dog April 29, 2014 at 10:14 PM
Retirement communities need volunteers too.
MJP April 30, 2014 at 09:15 AM
John E. you my friend don't know what your talking about the volunteers in this county give there heart and soul every time the alarm goes off and if you think that you know so much why don't you volunteer and go through fire school and see how much training they get (on they own time away from there families) to help this county . So think about what you say before you open you big mouth. Thank you all the Firefighters EMS & Police OCSD.

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