Fire displaces three businesses in downtown Toms River

     Firefighters extinguished a structure fire at 121 Washington Street in downtown Toms River early Friday morning. (Photo: Toms River Police Department Ptl. William Hutton)

    Firefighters extinguished a structure fire at 121 Washington Street in downtown Toms River early Friday morning. (Photo: Toms River Police Department Ptl. William Hutton)

    A downtown Toms River building believed to date back to the early 1900s was damaged by a fire early Friday morning, authorities said. 

    Police and fire units arrived to 121 Washington Street at 12:30 a.m. and immediately observed flames near a window unit air conditioner on the first floor, said Ralph Stocco, spokesman for the Toms River Police Department.

    The fire caused smoke and heat damage throughout the first and second floor, said James Mercready, Director of Toms River Fire Prevention. 

    “Due to the extent of damage, the structure was posted unsafe by Toms River Fire Inspector Kevin Esposito,” Mercready said. “The three-story commercial building was currently occupied by three tenants that will need to be displaced until repairs are made to the building.”

    The building was saved in part by the activation of the fire alarm system, according to Mercready.

    All units cleared the scene by 2:20 a.m. No injuries were reported. 

    “The cause has yet to be determined. However, the investigators are exploring the possibility that the fire may have started in the area of the air conditioner,” Stocco said. 

    Toms River Fire Companies #1 and #2 and the East Dover Fire Company responded. The Island Heights, East Dover, and Silverton fire companies provided mutual aid. 

    Esposito and Toms River Police Department Detective Thomas Dimichele are conducting the investigation.

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