PEMBERTON TOWNSHIP — A 56-year-old township man has been charged with killing his 92-year-old mother and her 92-year-old companion after starting a fire that got out of control.

The Oct. 16 fire ignited by Kurt Smith left him hospitalized for smoke inhalation and killed his mother, Lore Smith, who died at the hospital, and George Pikunis, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Both inhaled soot and suffered severe burns, the Burlington County medical examiner said.

Investigators say Smith lit flammable material with a cigarette lighter about 8:30 p.m. while he was with two people in the garage of the Willow Boulevard home in the township's Browns Mills section.

He tried to extinguish the flames but the fire spread when someone opened the garage door, Burlington County prosecutors said Friday.

Kurt Smith (Burlington County Prosecutor's Office)
Kurt Smith (Burlington County Prosecutor's Office)

Smith was charged with first-degree aggravated manslaughter and third-degree arson. He will be arrested by Philadelphia police and extradited to New Jersey after he is discharged from Temple University Hospital. The Townsquare News Network did not know Friday whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

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