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The Aftermath: Fire Destroys Businesses, Restaurant in Downtown Toms River

Cause of fire still being determined; business where fire broke out closed an hour earlier

Damaged buildings in downtown Toms River following an overnight fire, May 16, 2014. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Damaged buildings in downtown Toms River following an overnight fire, May 16, 2014. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
The overnight fire in downtown Toms River destroyed several businesses as well as the headquarters of a charitable organization that helped victims of Superstorm Sandy.

Fire crews were still on the scene of the fire, which broke out before midnight Friday, near the intersection of Robbins Parkway and Washington Street.

Washington Street and Robbins Parkway were still closed to traffic by about 11 a.m. Friday as emergency workers continued to sift through the remnants of several downtown buildings that houses businesses and offices.

Destroyed in the fire was the longtime downtown restaurant Capone's, as well as the East Coast Gamers video game store, a bail bond business and the headquarters of Hometown Heroes, a charitable organization formed in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

"It started as a little smoke, and then all of the sudden the whole block was on fire," said a witness to the fire who declined to give his name.

The fire was discovered, according to Toms River Police spokesman Ralph Stocco, when police and fire units responded to the East Coast Gamers store at 11:18 p.m. for a burglar alarm activation and noticed a faint smell of smoke.

"Within minutes, smoke and flames began to billow from the front and rear of the structure," said Stocco.

The business had hosted a gaming tournament and closed at 10 p.m., said Stocco. The fire was brought under control at 3:11 a.m. after a massive local response.

Fire companies 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 incident.

The exact cause of the fire has not yet been determined. Toms River Police Detective Thomas DiMichele and Ocean County Prosecutors Detective John Doran are conducting an investigation as to the cause of the blaze.  They are being assisted by Toms River Bureau of Fire Prevention Investigator Kevin Esposito and the Ocean County Fire Marshalls office.
kimberlee b May 17, 2014 at 08:30 AM
No liquor license for Capones, it's why we no longer go.
i don't get it?? May 17, 2014 at 09:35 AM
No matter how you feel about someone personally they don't deserve to lose their livelihood. And not supporting a local business because they no longer have a liquor license is sad, especially when you can bring your own. I wish the best for all of you...downtown is suffering enough with the lack of businesses that can stay open down there now the ones who have survived are in jeopardy too. So sad
Project Bluebeam May 17, 2014 at 03:18 PM
Kinberlee, you are lower than pond scum. Get help.
Proud Pappa May 17, 2014 at 04:03 PM
Come on kimberlee..tell the truth...the bathroom stalls are only big enough for 1... LUSH.!!
Peter May 17, 2014 at 07:01 PM
Well I woke up to get me a cold pop and then I thought somebody was barbequing. I said oh lord Jesus it’s a fire. Then I ran out, I didn’t grab no shoes or nothin’ Jesus, I ran for my life. And then the smoke got me, I got bronchitis ain’t nobody got time for that.

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