A fast-moving multi-alarm fire damaged three stores in a West Long Branch shopping center, but authorities say no injuries were reported.
The fire at the Carriage Square center was reported around 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Authorities say it apparently started in the ceiling of one business and soon spread to two others, but it’s not yet known what sparked the blaze.
“I was at the nail salon and black smoke filled the place in seconds. It continued to spread through the complex,” Meghan Kelly Sheridan wrote on Facebook.
Authorities shut down a stretch of Route 36 while numerous firefighters fought the blaze, causing extensive travel delays in the area. The fire also spawned a thick, heavy cloud of smoke that was visible from miles away.
Crews remained at the scene late Saturday afternoon, working to extinguish several hot spots at the center.
Nails Limited, Peking Taste Restaurant, and Giane, a salon, were damaged, according to an APP.com report.
A spokesperson for Dak Lak Coffee Roasting, a shopping center tenant, said the business is “closed until further notice.”
“We stand with our neighbors during this tough time and thank our guests for their concern and condolences,” a Facebook posting said.
A drone operator captured aerial video of the scene, above, adding fire department radio transmissions to the footage.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.