Authorities Identify Man Killed in Cliffwood House Fire
Fire squads battled a fire Tuesday in a single family home on Edgeview Road, which is located in the Cliffwood section of Aberdeen near Route 35.
Editor's note: This story was last updated on Wednesday, March 20 at 7 p.m. with additional information from authorities.
Joseph Otterbine, 79, of Aberdeen succumbed to smoke inhalation Tuesday during a fire that also claimed his single family home in the Cliffwood section of town, Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office Public Information Officer Charles Webster said Wednesday.
The fire at 241 Edgeview Road is believed to be accidental, although the exact cause is yet to be determined. Webster said authorities are unable to rule out cigarettes or lighting material as a possible cause.
Edgeview Road is just off of West Prospect, a popular shortcut between Matawan Road and Route 35.
Authorities were alerted to the fire at about 12:43 p.m., according to Webster.
Thick white smoke was seen billowing from the home as firefighters from Aberdeen and Keyport worked for over an hour to put out the flames.
Local residents formed a small crowd on the street, looking on as the firefighters used a ladder truck to douse the partially collapsed roof with water.
Christine Araco, who grew up two houses down in the home her mother still owns, said Joseph lived in the two-story house with one of his sons. Property tax records indicate the home belonged to Michael Otterbine.
Araco remembered Joseph, or 'Uncle Joe' as she called him growing up, as a kind-hearted man who attended church at St. Joseph's every day.
"He was very nice, always smiled at you and would call everyone honey," she said. "He was someone you wanted to know."
On the scene of the fire were volunteers from the Aberdeen and Keyport fire companies, as well as EMS squads from South Aberdeen and MONOC. The Aberdeen Township Police Department and Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office were also on the scene.