A brush fire consumed 6-acres of Lakeside Drive East this afternoon, said Kevin Flynn of the Forked River Fire Department.
What was originally thought to be a boat fire was a large brush fire, Flynn said. Although in a residential area, there were no injuries or property damage.
"It endangerd a couple homes," Flynn said. "That was the first thing we did when we got there, to protect the houses."
The fire was heading towards homes on Riverview Road when the Forked River Fire Department responded between 3:15 and 3:30 p.m., Flynn said. The blaze was contained by 4:15 p.m.
Jim McGeoch, owner of Townsends Marina, said the fire was seen from his marina at about 3 p.m. Larry Wheeler, a fire inspector who was working on his boat at the marina on his day off, spotted the fire first.
"He said, 'Fire! Call 9-1-1!' " said Kim Constantini, who works in the office at the marina. The fire was still burning in a brush across the river at that point, yellowish brown smoke rising and drifting in the strong breeze. It was visible along Route 9 and the scent carried into the southern part of Berkeley.
The fire ignited a mixture of salt marsh and some woods, Flynn said. Some areas where the salt marsh is were "burned down to the ground."
"They're just cleaning out now," Flynn said around 5 p.m. "They're mopping out all the spots that are smoldered in the middle."
Approximately 30 firefighters from Forked River, Lanoka Harbor and Waretown Fire Departments along with 15 from the state worked to extinguish the fire. The Bamber Lake Fire Department covered for Lanoka Harbor.
The fire is under investigation by the Ocean County Fire Marshal and the State Forest Fire Service.