Toms River, NJ couple hospitalized: Fire caused by smoking near oxygen tank
TOMS RIVER — Careless smoking is being blamed for a fire that sent two people to a burn facility on Sunday night.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said the fire at the one-story single-family house on Mount Everest Lane was the result of smoking while oxygen was in use.
Linda Summerton, 73, and Ricky McMurry, 73, were discovered inside by firefighters. They were airlifted to the Burn Center at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston.
As of Tuesday, McMurry was listed in critical condition while Summerton was in stable condition.
According to a GoFundMe page created by the couple's granddaughter, McMurry suffered burns to 50% of his body. He was in a medically induced coma and his organs were in danger of shutting down.
The couple lost everything in the fire, including their beloved dog Kya, according to the granddaughter.
"If you have met my grandparents you know what loving, kind and caring people they are," she said on the fundraising page.
Three firefighters and a police officer were treated at the scene for minor injuries.
Second fire several hours later
A separate fire at a house about a mile away on Mt. Juliano Drive was ruled accidental by Chief Fire Inspector John Novak.
The residents escaped the house, which suffered "significant damage," according to Novak. Three vehicles parked in the driveway of an adjacent house were also damaged by the fire.
A GoFundMe page has also been created to assist resident Donna Healy by friend Jennifer Rose.