Again, fire takes deadly toll on weary Gloucester City A woman at a hotel died of smoke inhalation. A separate weekend blaze left the city clerk and his family homeless.

Posted: January 27, 2003

GLOUCESTER CITY — Already battle-scarred from the July 4 fire that killed six, this close-knit community was hit by two more blazes during the weekend.

One person died yesterday in a quickly controlled two-alarm blaze at a Gloucester City hotel.

And on Saturday, a fire at a three-story house injured three firefighters, a city official and his wife, and left the couple and their six children homeless.

Another South Jersey town, Maple Shade, was hit by fire Saturday when a five-alarm blaze destroyed 33 units at the Village of Stoney Run, leaving more than 50 people homeless. It was at least the fifth fire in the 19-year-old complex's history.

Yesterday's Gloucester City fire, reported at 1:15 a.m. and contained in 15 minutes, killed a woman who occupied a second-floor room in the Travelodge at Route 130 and Market Street. Thick smoke caused the building to be evacuated, but no one else was injured.

The 44-year-old woman, whose name authorities withheld until her family could be notified, had checked in Saturday morning, said Bill Shralow, a spokesman for the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.

The woman died of smoke inhalation, Shralow said.

The Prosecutor's Office, the Gloucester City Police and Fire Departments, and the Camden County Fire Marshal's Office were investigating the blaze.

"It doesn't appear to be suspicious, but the investigation continues," Shralow said yesterday.

Saturday's fire claimed the home of city clerk Paul Kain, wife Maggie, and their six children, ages 6 months to 10 years.

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries after slipping on ice created by their water flow. Paul and Maggie Kain were hospitalized at St. Agnes Hospital in Philadelphia for injuries sustained when they helped their children to safety.

Both Kains were released yesterday.

The family had recently purchased the large, old wood-frame home on Cumberland Street. The fire, which was brought under control just before 6 a.m., began on the second floor and extended to the third floor and the roof before it was brought under control.

Shortly after visiting them, Mayor Bob Gorman, Maggie Kain's brother, said his sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephews were happy to be reunited.

Family members cared for the children while their parents were hospitalized.

"They're aching, but thankful," the mayor said.

That stands in sharp contrast to the Independence Day blaze, in which three girls and three firefighters battling to rescue them died.

Gorman said he was still reeling yesterday from smells, sights and feelings that were altogether too familiar.

"Enough," he said, "is enough."

Contact staff writer Kristen Graham at 856-779-3927 or kgraham@phillynews.com.

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