OCEAN GROVE, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Investigators were still trying to figure out what started a fast moving fire on the Jersey Shore.
Neptune Township Police Captain Michael McGhee said officials believe the fire began in an unoccupied Warrington Hotel, that is set to be demolished, just after 5 a.m. Friday.
The flames then quickly ignited adjacent buildings in the community, where homes are close together.
Flames and embers also spread to the upper floors of the La Pierre condominium complex along Wesley Lake, which is across from Asbury Park.
“It was very scary. The flames were coming out, the smoke was billowing,” resident Lisa Rasmussen told CBS2’s Raegan Medgie.
“When I opened the door, immediately, smoke,” said resident Lisa Frye. “I’m on the top floor and embers, just showering down. I thought it was stars falling almost. I ran down the stairs and smoke in the stairwell.”
McGhee said in all, the fire spread to seven buildings. He said four of those buildings are complete losses.
Firefighters from many communities managed to tamp down the flames while white smoke is still rising from the scene. Officials say utilities in the area have been cut off.
Frye is now hoping to get back inside to find her cats.
“Just scared. I’m not worried about my things, my boys were at their dad’s last night so I’m glad they’re not with me,” she said. “I’m just scared for my cats. They’re hiding in a corner or something.”
But for Ken Roberts, he has no home to go back to. His was one of those destroyed in the fire.
“At first I thought it was sunlight, then there were these sparks through window, from the fire and then I realized it was a fire,” he said.
Roberts was able to get out and is now being cared for by the American Red Cross at a nearby Saint Paul’s Church along with dozens of other families who will have to wait for several more hours until they can get back home.
McGhee says everyone is accounted for, but two firefighters suffered minor injuries.
There was a glimmer of hope for one woman who nearly lost everything, as friends stepped up to help.
“We are now off to get cat food, and whatever she needs. That seems to have really calmed down Patty, or high school friend — that her cat was found,”Connie Ogden said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)