MILLVILLE – Police are investigating an early-morning fire Wednesday that consumed a covered porch behind Millville Elks Lodge #580 and what role a man captured on surveillance video may have played in the blaze.
The Millville Fire Department arrived on scene at the E. Broad Street lodge around 3:46 a.m. Wednesday to put out a fire in an outdoor smoke room, according to Lt. Ross Hoffman.
Surveillance footage obtained by The Daily Journal shows a man in dark pants, a hooded shirt and jacket moving in and out of the covered porch as it catches fire. At one point, the man appears to be opening and closing the door to the building to help fuel the flames. He also carries what looks like a large, black mat into the covered porch and appears to drag it onto the fire.
Hoffman said video footage reviewed by the department showed the possible suspect appearing around 1:40 a.m. and remaining on scene until 3:22 a.m. before fleeing on foot.
Lodge member Bill Davis told The Daily Journal by phone Thursday that heating and air conditioning units near the outdoor porch are being assessed for damage but the main structure was unharmed.
The lodge is open for business as usual, Davis said.
Millville Fire Department Chief Mike Lippincott said an alarm in the lodge, likely triggered by smoke, first alerted them of the blaze.
He added it was a “run-of-the-mill” fire and that the scene was cleared at 5:38 a.m.
Hoffman said the department is actively investigating the incident and in search of the suspect seen in the surveillance video.
Anyone with information about the case should contact the Millville police at (856) 825-7010.
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Anthony Coppola; (856) 563-5258; email@example.com