Investigators are still trying to narrow down the cause of a house fire that claimed the life of a 74-year-old Brick man early Sunday morning.
The victim, identified as Robert Kanwisher, died after the fire broke out in his Brower Drive home after midnight Sunday. His wife, Debra Kanwisher, 63, was taken to Ocean Medical Center and is still recovering, authorities said Monday morning. The couple’s dog remains missing.
Robert Kanwisher’s cause of death has not yet been determined and is still pending an autopsy, said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
Della Fave said the home, located on a lagoon in a neighborhood filled with modern, waterfront homes, had to be razed due to the extent of fire damage and instability of the exterior walls. Investigators were able to collect physical evidence and examine the scene beforehand, and are still trying to determine the exact cause of the blaze. Firefighters from the Pioneer Hose company continued fighting flare-ups hours after the initial fire was put out, Della Fave said, and technical rescue teams from Brick and Berkeley townships were called in to stabilize the structure just long enough so the investigation could completed.
The home ultimately had to come down; the Ocean County Road Department sent a crew with heavy equipment to complete the task, preventing further damage or injury to the surrounding structures and residents.
“At this time investigators are not releasing any information regarding the cause and origin of the fire,” Della Fave said in an e-mail.