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Prosecutor: Smoking caused N.J. fire that killed 4

POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J.  — A prosecutor says careless smoking caused a fire that killed four people at a New Jersey shore motel.

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato says a cigarette discarded in a stuffed chair touched off the blaze at the Mariner’s Cove Motor Inn on Friday in Point Pleasant Beach.

He identified the victims as 45-year-old John Alberti, of Keansburg; 20-year-old Paulo Martins, of South River; 52-year-old Harold Ford, of Neptune; and 66-year-old Albert Sutton, of Mount Laurel.

The motel’s guests included some people who were previously displaced by Superstorm Sandy in Oct. 2012.

Eight other people were injured in the fire, three of them critically.

Coronato says the fire began in a designated smoking area on the second floor of the motel, located two blocks from the beach.

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