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New Jersey wildfire that burned 167 acres was intentionally set, prosecutor says

OCEAN COUNTY, N.J. — A devastating New Jersey wildfire that burned 167 acres Sunday, injured a firefighter and displaced three homeless people who were living in the woods was intentionally set, prosecutors said.

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“We have located the origin of the fire and have concluded that the fire was intentionally set,” Ocean County prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said in a statement.

PRESS RELEASE-INVESTIGATION REVEALS LAKEWOOD WILDLAND FIRE INTENTIONALLY SET Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D....

Posted by Ocean County Prosecutor's Office on Friday, March 19, 2021

The fire started around 1:15 p.m. and quickly spread in the dry air and 20 mph winds, forcing the evacuation of residents and causing damage to 29 homes and businesses, WPVI reported.

Firefighters from more than 30 agencies responded, WNBC reported. The blaze was deemed under control 1 p.m. Monday. One firefighter suffered a heart attack.

“The significance of this wildland fire cannot be overstated,” Billhimer said. “It is only by the grace of God that no one was killed. This remains an active and ongoing investigation.”