Shore strip mall fire that destroyed 5 businesses deemed suspicious

Image: Toms River Fire Department Company #1/Facebook

Image: Toms River Fire Department Company #1/Facebook

A fast-moving fire that destroyed five businesses at a New Jersey strip mall has been deemed suspicious.

The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office announced the finding Monday, several hours after the fire broke out at the Ocean National Plaza on Route 9 south in Toms River.

But an office spokesman declined further comment, saying only that the cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

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The blaze, which was reported around 12:10 a.m. Monday, apparently started in a dry cleaning business and soon spread to the other stores.

Toms River police say three restaurants and a nail salon were among the businesses destroyed in the blaze, which sent flames shooting high into the sky. It was fought for several hours by dozens of firefighters from Toms River and neighboring towns.

There were no injuries.

Investigators remained on the scene as of late morning on Monday.

A January 1994 fire at the location destroyed a pizza restaurant and caused damage to adjoining stores, according to the Asbury Park Press.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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