By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net
A 59 year old Grover, let’s call him Mike, was awakened at 5 am on March 3, 2017, when he saw orange lights outside his window. He rents an apartment on Seaview Avenue, nearly adjacent to the Warrington Hotel.
He looked out and realized that fire was coming out of the hotel’s windows. “The fire was roaring out of the Warrington.”
He called 911 at 5:09 am and raced out of his rented apartment. “A wall of fire was coming straight at me,” he said.
His email to Blogfinger said, “It took me 5 minutes to get the cats and my backpack. As I was running out of my door on the northwest side of the 2nd floor hallway the windows of Apartment C (16 feet from me) were shattering from the heat.”
Mike said that he had been worried about the Warrington recently because workers had “removed all the siding and all the sheet rock, which left the building filled with fuel.” He was referring to the bare wood framing which he could see through the building’s windows. “That 4-story empty wooden box was a perfect engine for the fire which shot out of the windows like a jet engine.”
He theorizes that the fire, “which moved extremely fast might have been slowed down somewhat if the siding and sheet rock had not been removed.”
Neighbors had been noticing that 2 or 3 workers would come each day for weeks to remove siding and to work inside the building. I myself had heard the hammering and had seen workers on October 21, 2016, when I went there to see what was going on and to interview a Seaview Avenue home owner about the situation.(see Blogfinger photos).
There was a dumpster on the Lake Avenue side, and they had placed a path from the hotel east to where they could remove their trash around past the La Pierre Condominiums to the street. A permit was in the window on the porch. That was for the limited demolition which was ongoing.
According to Mike, the workers who had been hammering inside the Warrington also “disabled the alarms inside.”
Mike had noticed “squatters” inside the building, so he thinks that a wayward cigarette may have been responsible. But he said that he believed that arson may have caused the conflagration, and he had some other worrisome theories as well which we will not relate at this time. Mike did not mention any explosion.
He told us that he had heard that the owner of the Warrington had given up on the hotel plan and hoped to demolish the building. We have no verification of that, in fact, the Zoning Board of Adjustment secretary told us that the demolition theory was not true.
As expected, Mike is very angry. He feels as if the fire was aimed personally at him, and he believes it could have been avoided. He has already spoken to a Neptune police detective and he is awaiting a call from ATF.
Meanwhile he is staying at the Hotel Asbury which offered assistance to fire victims. 98 people were displaced by the fire according to the APP.
Here is a Blogfinger review of the Warrington’s history. It makes reference to recent fire risk concerns:
SKYLAR ASTIN AND ESTER DEAN “Since U Been Gone.” From the original soundtrack of the film Pitch Perfect.