A 35-year-old female and a 17-year-old female suffered smoke inhalation in a fire that left three housing units uninhabitable on Lexington Boulevard in Barnegat, according to Lieutenant Keith Germain.
The fire broke out at 65 Lexington Boulevard at 4:20 p.m.
The fire emanated from a hot water heater, according to Germain. Neighbors said they heard that the hot water heater had exploded. "It went up quick," said Kevin Williamson, who was visiting his aunt who lives on Lexington Boulevard. "It was pretty intense."
The duplex units were left uninhabitable due to fire, smoke and water damage. Barnegat Township building inspectors were assessing other adjoining units to ensure that they were safe for habitation, according to Germain.
The Jersey Coast Chapter of the American Red Cross will be providing shelter for one of the displaced families.
The two women who were injured, both occupants of 65 Lexington Boulevard, were taken to Southern Ocean Medical Center by the Barnegat First Aid Squad.
Firefighters from Stafford, Waretown and Lacey Township assisted Barnegat Township in fighting the blaze. When firefighters arrived on the scene officers observed unit 65 fully engulfed, with smoke emanating from the adjoining units. The adjoining units were evacuated. The residents of 65 escaped prior to officers' arrival, according to Germain.
Firefighters gained entry to the duplex around 6:15 p.m., according to Brian Mount, Ocean County Deputy Fire Marshal.
The fire was ruled accidental.