October 2, 2017

Fire in Lakewood Damages 30 Condominiums

Asbury Park Press
By Katie Park, Sept. 30, 2017

One resident, two police officers and an emergency medic were treated for smoke inhalation when a fire damaged 30 condominiums at the Covington Village complex Friday afternoon, authorities said.

The roof at Building One of the adult condominium complex was almost entirely burned off. Almost all the residents in the building, located on Sophee Lane, were contacted and informed of the situation, said Committeeman Meir Lichtenstein, who is also a volunteer EMT.

All 30 units in the building are likely to have fire, smoke or water damage, Lichtenstein said.

“I finally got in here two months ago,” said Bill Galvin, a resident who lived alone in Building One.

He had spent considerable amounts of time and money to settle into his new place, Galvin said. He had paid around $15,000 for home renovations, but had only been able to enjoy his condominium for a handful of weeks before the fire.

Seeing the massive fire was — to put it lightly — a shock to Galvin.

He said had returned from ShopRite with groceries around 1:30 p.m. when he saw emergency vehicles on Route 70. Galvin thought it was a car crash and continued walking home with his bags.

As he got closer to home, he realized there was a fire. And it was in his building.

Galvin wondered what happened to some of his treasured possessions: Items from his grandkids. A painting of Myrtle Beach from his parents that hung above the bed. All of his Frank Sinatra memorabilia.

“I’m hoping they let us in tomorrow — see what we can salvage,” Galvin, 62, said.

Rendered without his own home now, Galvin said he would most likely go stay with his daughter, who lives in Middletown.

“I just can’t believe this,” Galvin said.

Two ladders were unfolded above the building and sprayed heavy jets onto the building’s roof. Smoke billowed from the burning areas.

Dozens of police cars and emergency vehicles were lined up around the complex. Traffic was backed up and rerouted in a section of Lakewood.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, Lichenstein said. The Ocean County Sheriff’s Office and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office will handle the case.

October 2, 2017

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