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DNA tests needed to ID 4 killed in Jersey shore motel fire; cause of blaze still unknown

DNA testing and other methods will need to be used to identify the four people killed in a fire at a Jersey shore motel that housed some victims of Superstorm Sandy, authorities said Sunday.

The Ocean County medical examiner's office hoped to complete its work on the identifications in the next few days, said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office.

Fire investigators are still working to determine how and exactly where the fire started, Della Fave said.

The blaze broke out around 5:30 a.m. Friday at the Mariner's Cove Motor Inn in Point Pleasant Beach. About 40 people were staying there at the time, including some who had lost their homes during the 2012 superstorm.

Eight others were injured in the fire, three critically. Many of the injured had burns and broken bones, and survivors described a chaotic scene of flames, smoke and screaming.

Point Pleasant Beach is a popular Jersey shore summer resort where the dozen or so hotels and motels rely on people seeking cheap rentals to get them through the slow winter season.

The blaze was the second major fire at the Jersey shore in seven months, following a September blaze that destroyed about a third of the boardwalk in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park.

The boardwalk there had just been rebuilt after Sandy. It is now being rebuilt — again — and many of the same arson investigators who probed the boardwalk fire are investigating the motel blaze as well.

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