Efforts continue to identify the victims of Friday's fatal fire at the Mariner's Cove Motor Inn in Point Pleasant Beach.


Mariner's Cove Motor Inn in Point Pleasant Beach following a fire
Mariner's Cove Motor Inn in Point Pleasant Beach following a fire (Ocean County Prosecutor's Office)

The Medical Examiner's Office will need to use DNA "and other more intensive methods" to identity the four victims, according to a statement issued Sunday morning by Al Della Fave, spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office.

Della Fave said identification of the victims and discovery of the fire's cause are the top priorities of investigators.

The Star-Ledger was reporting Sunday that investigators believe the fire may have been caused by careless smoking. The report was attributed to unnamed sources.

All of the hotel's guests are now staying at the White Sands Oceanfront Resort and Spa according to the Star-Ledger.Their initial assistance runs out on Monday but the Jersey Coast Chapter of the American Red Cross will be working to continue offering temporary shelter. "No one is going to be put out on the street," Laura Steinmetz, the chapter's community and government relations officer told the Star-Ledger.

Darla Hall, owner of a local clothing store, brought boxes of clothes to the victims. "My heart broke when I read the paper this morning," Hall told the newspaper. "I was wiped out by Sandy, so I couldn't really help people. … So now I figured I could."

First Lt. Mike Ryan of the Point Pleasant Beach Fire Department told ABC 7 firefighters had a short window of opportunity to safely rescue occupants of the motel. "There's a certain point in time where we just can't go in. It's unsafe, the roof starts to collapse, and when a room flashes, even our protective equipment isn't going to protect us very long," he said.

Of the 40 persons staying at the Mariner's Cove on Friday morning, 10 were initially counted as missing but have now been accounted for, according to the Prosecutor's Office.