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Large Building Fire in Downtown Toms River

A three-alarm fire that broke out early Friday morning in downtown Toms River is out but crews remain to put out out hot spots and begin their investigation onto the fire on the corner of Washington and Robbins Street.

The inside of East Coast Gamers following a fire in Toms River
The inside of East Coast Gamers following a fire in Toms River (Toms River Police)

Toms River Police say they responded to a burglar alarm at East Coast Gaming on Robbins Street around 11:18 p.m. Thursday night and discovered smoke and flames coming from the back of the building. The store had closed at 10 p.m. following a tournament they were hosting.

The fire was brought under control by 3:11 a.m. on Friday morning.

Police expect Washington Street and Robbins Streets to remain closed for several hours as the Toms River Bureau of Fire Prevention, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and the Ocean County Fire Marshall begins their investigation. Water Street has reopened.

The area is home to the Ocean County Library’s Toms River branch, the Ocean County Justice Complex and Toms River High School South.

Toms River Schools spokesperson  Tammi Millar says High School South opened open as usual and buses were able to get students to the school. They will not be allowed outside for lunch, however.

Capone’s Gourmet Pizza & Pasta and the offices of the charity Hometown Heroes.were also damaged by the fire.

A damaged building on Robbins Street in Toms River
A damaged building on Robbins Street in Toms River (Stacy Proebstle)

Founder Michael Schwartz says Hometown Heroes lost all of their records and a wall of thank you cards in the blaze.“Our computers, phones and office space are gone,” wrote the organization on their Facebook page.

James Capone, the owner of Capone’s Pizza, tells the Riverview Signal he will start cleaning up the smoke and water damage his Washington Street business surffered and “will try to get back open ASAP.”

Fire Departments from Toms River #1 and #2, East Dover, Silverton, Pleasant Plains, Island Heights, Beachwood, Manitou Park, Bayville, Pinewald Pioneer, Manchester, Seaside Heights, and Forked River responded to the fire and used a ladder truck to access the roof of the building where smoke was billowing out. The building was unoccupied at the time of the fire.

Ocean County Sheriff Mike Mastronardy, said  one fire fighter was affected by smoke inhalation. Fire fighters were also concerned about the stability of one of the walls of the building.

The Toms River Business Improvement District says the New Jersey State Chili and Salsa Cookoff  on Saturday in downtown Toms River will go as scheduled.

MORE COVERAGE:

Dianne DeOliveira, Kevin Williams, Sue Moll, Marianne Levy and Tom Trembly contributed to this report


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