The Great Fire Folks' cars were packed with clothes and family heirlooms they held dear ready to drive to safer grounds in case the fire drew near. It started as a forest fire that spread beyond control, driven by a strong west wind; destruction was its goal! Wild animals that raced it were no match, for its wrath as it devoured plant and wildlife caught within its path. Lacey folks grew fearful when it reached the Barnegat Pines; homeowners soaked their rooftops down with bucket brigade lines. Firefighters did their utmost to hold the blazes back, but the wind changed suddenly; it jumped the railroad track. Caught up by a gust of wind, the rolling flames shot higher. Sweeping fields to North Main Street, some fine homes caught on fire. Then crossed Main Street, and headed for the game farm, east of town. So sad for Presbyterians, their little church burned down. My sister, who took me to Sunday school there, heard the bell as the church collapsed; it kept ringing as it fell. I was just a small child then, not quite four years old. My memories are mostly from the stories I was told. When I was growing up, sometimes I'd hear my family tell how they soaked down Grandmom's buildings, drawing water from her well. Like many folks, both ends of town, they labored without cease. Still, much of Grandmom's livestock burned; she grieved for her prized geese. Firefighters didn't have the best equipment in those days. More than twenty Lacey families were left homeless in the blaze. From New Gretna up to Lakewood, the fire raged along the coast, and though many towns were stricken, Forked River suffered most. I am sure that there are many who have memories to this day, who lived here in nineteen thirty, that disastrous week in May. - Lillian Arnold Lopez "Pineylore"