Lacey Township Plane Crash Sparks Wildfire: Latest Update

September 4, 2023 Plane Crash and Wildfire Update

LACEY TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)– A tragic plane crash in the secluded forested area of Lacey Township, east of Robert J. Miller Airpark, has resulted in the loss of one life, according to the Lacey Township Police Department. As of now, the authorities have not yet verified the pilot’s identity. On Saturday, September 2, 2023, the Lacey Township Police Department received an alert regarding smoke emanating from the vicinity of Dover Road and West Lacey Road, just before midnight. Multiple fire departments, including the Manitou Park and Bamber Lake Fire Departments, and the New Jersey Forest Fire Service, were promptly dispatched to the scene to investigate.

While investigating the source of the smoke, the first responders discovered the wreckage of a small airplane. Unfortunately, due to the presence of smoke, fire, and treacherous terrain, the authorities faced considerable challenges in reaching the crash site promptly. Consequently, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service mobilized its personnel as the fire continued to spread. Finally, on Sunday, September 3, 2023, during the afternoon hours, the authorities successfully accessed the crash site and, regrettably, confirmed the pilot’s demise.

In the coming days, firefighting operations will continue in the wooded areas surrounding the Robert J. Miler Airpark. Smoke conditions are expected to persist during this time. Nonetheless, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service reassures the public that there will be no further growth in the size of the fire, as containment efforts intensify throughout the day. Presently, the fire is estimated to be 70% contained. Travelers passing through the area are advised to remain alert and cautious. For updates on the forest fire, the NJ Forest Fire Service urges inquiries to be directed to their offices.

Due to ongoing fire operations, Dover Road and Mule Road remain closed from Lacey Road to Pinewald Keswick Road, disrupting traffic flow. Additionally, the Robert J. Miller Airpark remains inaccessible. Immediate notification of the incident was conveyed to the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), who have now initiated a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash. For inquiries regarding the airplane crash investigation, the FAA Eastern Region Public Affairs Office is the designated point of contact.

The Lacey Township Police Department extends its heartfelt appreciation to the multitude of agencies, local fire departments, and emergency medical service providers who promptly responded to support the investigation and management of this tragic incident. A detailed list of the agencies involved will be released at a later date.

WILDFIRE UPDATE: Airpark Wildfire – Miller Airpark – Lacey Twp, Ocean County

The wildfire ravaging the vicinity of the Robert J. Miller Airpark in Lacey Township, Ocean County, has been significantly contained, thanks to the relentless efforts of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. The fire has devastated an expansive area, spanning a staggering 831 acres, with containment measures currently at an impressive 70%.

As a precautionary measure, certain roads have been closed to safeguard public safety. Specifically, Dover Road has been shut down from Lacey Road to Pinewald Keswick Road, while Mule Road remains closed between Lacey Road and Pinewald Keswick Road. The flames have menaced approximately 25 structures, but local volunteer fire companies have been diligently providing structure protection, and their collaborative efforts are highly commendable.

Yesterday, smoke billowing from the colossal wildfire was visible from Barnegat Light, NJ, serving as a grim reminder of the unfolding catastrophe.

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