Friday, December 1, 2023

Lightning Strike Destroys Upper Home

Courtesy Seaville Fire Rescue Facebook page
Fire that apparently started from a lightning strike, July 29, destroyed a Seaville home, killing two dogs. The family was not home at the time of the fire.

By Christopher South

SEAVILLE – A Seaville family lost everything they had, including two family dogs, in a fire that apparently started from a lightning strike, July 29.

The Pinkerton family was away from home when they received news that their house in the 1300 block of Stagecoach Road was on fire. Members of at least 10 fire companies responded to the fire but could not save the house. The structure fire had apparently become fully involved by the time it was noticed by neighbors.

When contacted by telephone, Seaville Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company Chief Steve Schaffer said the fire company was dispatched at 8:11 p.m. July 29 after a neighbor reported seeing fire through the woods. Schaffer said when firefighters arrived at the location, they had difficulty seeing the fire due to the house being located in a densely wooded area about 700 feet back from the roadway.

“We ended up going to a second alarm mostly due to requesting to add personnel. We had to rotate people due to the heat and humidity – not from the fire – the environmental heat,” Schaffer said.

Schaffer said there are hydrants on Stagecoach Road, so no tanker shuttle was necessary to get water to the fire. However, he estimated the house to be a total loss. The fire was considered under control at 9:09 p.m., and the fire scene cleared at about 1:30 a.m.

Schaffer said the fire illustrates why people need to have working smoke detectors in their homes.

“Sometimes you can take all the precautions and bad stuff still happens,” he said.

There were no personal injuries, but the personal loss was significant, as described on the Seaville Fire Rescue Facebook page.

“Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers as they have lost everything including two family pets,” said the Facebook post. “As fundraising efforts are announced we will post them.”

Angela Schweibinz, of Woodbine, set up a GoFundMe page on behalf of Chloe Pinkerton, 16, and Cora Pinkerton, 11, who she called “my family members.” The family also includes the girls’ father, Tony, and grandmother, Linda.

“They were absolutely devastated and brokenhearted to learn that their family pets were lost in the fire,” Schweibinz said in her GoFundMe description. “The home was a total loss and all possessions were destroyed.”

Schweibinz said she set up the GoFundMe page to help provide for the girls, so they would have clothes, shoes, and all the other items they need to begin school, as well as beds, bedding, and bath linens.

“We are all realizing just how important the little comforts of home provide – something as simple as a hairbrush and hair ties,” she wrote. “We want to support the family during this very difficult and traumatic time and try to ease the burden while they are rebuilding their home and lives. We are hoping that our community can come together and support.”

Those interested in finding the GoFundMe page should use this link:

The Seaville Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company expressed appreciation to the Marmora, Tuckahoe, Ocean View, Dennisville, Woodbine, Somers Point, Dorothy, Ocean City, and Cumberland fire departments, as well as Upper Township EMS Division, New Jersey State Police and Cape May County Fire Marshal’s Office, who all served either directly on the fire grounds or in various support rolls.

Contact the author, Christopher South, at or 609-886-8600, ext. 128.


Christopher South is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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