LAKE COMO, NJ — For Teresa Meehan, it will be difficult to ever forget the time 4:02 p.m. That is exactly when the Lake Como resident said she called 9-1-1 on January 5 to report a fire at her family's Ripley Lane home.

“Everything just happened so fast, so furiously,” she said, recalling how she smelled smoke coming from the second floor of their 110-year-old sprawling home that is the former Hollycroft Inn — a longtime landmark along the banks of Lake Como.

We are feeling very blessed for all the help and support. And most importantly, we thank God and angels for saving us.”                         

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— Teresa Meehan

There was no time to waste to flee the 5,400-square-foot home, Meehan said. With the help of a contractor who was working nearby, her husband, Tom, and adult daughter, with their three dogs in tow, were able to get over the front-yard fence, since snow had blocked the gate from opening. Teresa made her way out the back of the dwelling.

With no one injured, they waited in vehicles several blocks from the fire scene, where firefighters faced down the bitter cold and blustery winds for nearly four hours to battle the blaze, which caused significant damage to the structure. Click here for story.

While most of the actual fire damage occurred on the home’s second floor, including the bedrooms, the dwelling's downstairs was virtually untouched by fire, but remains covered in ice from the firefighting efforts due to the brutally cold weather, Meehan said.

As a result, they have been able to enter the home to retrieve some belongings from the first floor. Before the fire, “I had brought my clothes to be laundered downstairs. So those are the only clothes we have, as well as our coats,” she said.

For the first several days, a nearby neighbor’s home served as “command central” in the aftermath of the fire, where fire officials, inspectors and insurance representatives met with the couple.

Currently, the Meehans are looking for a temporary place to live, preferably a home somewhere between Bradley Beach and Manasquan — with a fenced-in yard for Riley and PJ, their cocker spaniel and sport retriever, she said.

Now as the couple enters the fledgling phase of the rebuilding process, Meehan said she is extremely grateful for the outpouring of support they have received. “I want to thank everyone who helped us — the Belmar Fire Department, the Belmar First Aid Squad, the assisting fire companies, our neighbors, people in the community,” she said. “We are feeling very blessed for all the help and support. And most importantly, we thank God and angels for saving us.”

Investigation Closed

The cause of the three-alarm fire is undetermined, but not ruled suspicious after an investigation by the Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office and Prosecutor’s Office, as well as the Belmar Police Department and Fire Marshal’s Office, according to Belmar Fire Marshal Ryan Dullea.

Firefighters from Belmar’s three fire companies — Union Fire Co., Goodwill Hose Fire Co.  and Volunteer Hook & Ladder Fire Co. — were on the scene, along with fire companies from Spring Lake, Wall, Neptune and Neptune City.

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