Officials: Plane crash in Lacey Township confirmed as cause of Ocean County wildfire
Officials confirmed an airplane that crashed Saturday in Lacey Township caused a wildfire in the area that impacted over 800 acres. The fire was first reported Sunday afternoon and was fully contained Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Lacey Township officials identified the pilot killed in the single-engine plane as 61-year-old Long Branch resident Oscar Molina. The incident occurred in the Greenwood Wildlife Management Area west of Robert J. Miller Airpark and Ocean County Airport.
New Jersey Forest Fire Service says officials were first dispatched to a smoke investigation Saturday where they encountered a smoke condition and ash falling from the sky. After an extensive search, they say a wildfire was found in the middle of the forest. The wreckage of a small aircraft was found later within the wildfire perimeter.
The Forest Fire Service says the National Transportation Safety Board will continue to conduct a full investigation into the airplane crash.