LAKE COMO, NJ — A major fire that caused significant damage to a house at 2 Ripley Lane yesterday evening is under investigation by county and local officials.

The Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office and Prosecutor’s Office, as well as the Belmar Police Department and Fire Marshal’s Office, are working to determine the cause of the January 5 blaze at the former Hollycroft Inn, according to Belmar Fire Marshal Ryan Dullea.

Members of Belmar's three fire companies, assisted by others from surrounding communities, responded to the 4:15 p.m. call that reported "heavy fire was showing from the rear of the structure."

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Firefighters battled the three-alarm blaze in harsh weather conditions for nearly four hours and returned to the scene at around 11 p.m. for several additional hours, according to firsthand reports.

Frozen fire hydrants were believed to have hindered firefighting efforts for at least the first 25 minutes upon their arrival to the scene. There were no reported injuries, and any occupants of the house were able to evacuate, officials said.

For several hours, smoke could be seen billowing from the sprawling English-style home, which faces Lake Como and is two blocks from the beachfront. The property, which is valued at nearly $1.2 million, is owned by Thomas and Teresa Meehan, according to county tax records. The 5,400-square-foot dwelling was built in 1908.

Firefighters of 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. Belmar First Aid Squad also responded.

On December 28, Belmar and Lake Como entered into a shared services agreement for Belmar to take over fire protection services for its neighboring town.

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