Firefighters Battling Large Brush Fire off Barnegat Boulevard
Fire started near the ball fields
Barnegat firefighters are battling a growing brush fire that started just before noon near the ball fields off of Barnegat Boulvevard.
The Barnegat Volunteer Fire Company Station 11 received a page at 11:27 a.m., according to the website logging in calls at the fire station.
The county brought in at least two trucks to assist at the scene. An air tanker and a helicopter was also requested.
The air tanker passed overhead multiple times, dumping what looked like thick steam over the area. It was water with special fire-supressing chemicals, said an official at the scene who did not wish to be identified.
Smoke rose in gray, darkening columns over the woods on the north side of Barnegat Boulevard, while flames lit up the trees.
As of this writing, officials from the Ocean County Fire Marshall and the Ocean County Sheriff's Department are diverting all vehicles heading toward Route 9 on Barnegat Boulevard from crossing Rose Hill Road.
But at around noon, with the fire trucks still arriving at the scene, some spectators were able to get a little bit closer, and watch the flames devour the trees from across Barnegat Boulevard.
Dan Lotito, 16, of Settlers Landing, was in the area with his friends when he got a call from his mother asking him where he was.
"I have never been this close to a fire before," said Lotito, whose aunt lives in Atlantic Heights.
"We saw the smoke all the way from Settlers'," said Anthony Littell, 16, who was with Lotito. "We jogged all the way over here."
Tom Hawkins 46, a resident of the Brookville Manor development nearby walked by the area to make sure fire was far enough away from his home.
"People should be more careful -- and more responsible," Hawkins said. "Like those kids who were up there, who thought it was cool. It's all fun and games until something big and bad happens."
The Barnegat Police Department is not responding to our requests for information at this time, and the Ocean County Prosecutor's office provided no details. We will keep you updated as soon as we have more information.