BELMAR, N.J. - Friends and family reported on Tuesday that an overnight fire had taken the lives of Mark Oberschewen, 49, and his father William, who was in his 80’s.
Mark Oberschewen was a salesman for Image Systems, selling office supplies to businesses, according to friends and Facebook. Friends also reported that he had 2 children and a girlfriend who he planned to marry.
"He just loved life. And he was taking care of his dad. He loved his kids. I mean his kids were his world,” said Tom Swales, Mark's childhood friend since they were 9 years old.
"We played little league together. We went to high school together. And then we also ended up at college together,” he said. “Then both of us got divorced, and I moved to Belmar and he was here already.”
But yesterday, the life-long friends were forced to part ways.
"We were talking about - let’s go to dinner one night. And we hadn’t been able to connect to do it lately cause we were both kinda busy,” recalled Swales. “You put off things you want to do and then this happens.”
Firefighters arrived on the 200 block of 14th Avenue to fight the fire in the extreme heat at around 9:30 p.m. Monday, but it was too late. The home would be hollowed out by the flames. So far, the cause of the fire has not been deemed suspicious, but the investigation is still ongoing.
Neighbors and friends are struggling to understand how Oberschewen did not make it out, but they reported that his father suffered from diabetes and was slow-moving.
“He would not have left his father. Not in a million years,” said Swales.
"These were the types of folks you’d want living next door to you,” said Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty, who got little sleep because he was out at the fire scene, speaking to friends and neighbors.
He reported that the home had no outstanding violations with the town. It was an old home, but Doherty said it had been renovated in 2009 and that the owners did obtain all proper permits and performed work up to the town codes and standards.
The Oberschewen’s had been renting the home year-round for at least 2 years, according to neighbors.
“He was a good guy,” said neighbor Chris Crescenzo about Mark. “He should be remembered that way.”