Smoking Caused the Motel Fire That Killed 4

POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J. (AP) -

A cigarette discarded in a stuffed chair touched off a fire that killed four people at a New Jersey shore motel last week, authorities said Monday.

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said the cigarette was discarded carelessly in the designated second-floor smoking area at the Mariner’s Cove Motor Inn, where guests included some people who were previously displaced by Superstorm Sandy. The second floor, built mostly of wood, suffered the heaviest damage.

The investigation was aided by video recovered from the motel’s heavily damaged surveillance system. Investigators also relied upon pre- and post-fire photos and interviews with guests and motel management.

The investigation also was expected to look into whether the motel had smoke detectors or alarms and whether they were working. Survivors gave conflicting accounts.