A wooden house just east of downtown Toms River is now cinders and rubble, following a massive blaze that broke out just after the Friday morning rush hour. Two Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs died in the flames.

Fire on Clinton Avenue in Toms River (Toms River Police)

Investigators who stayed on the spot long into the afternoon traced the start point to an area near the kitchen, on the southwest side of the two-story dwelling on Clinton Avenue, near the Toms River Country Club.They are now trying to determine the cause.

Six firefighting companies responded when the first report arrived around 9:23 AM, say Toms River police. Witnesses reported seeing flames arcing above the trees, and police say dense black smoke and flames poured from the rear of the structure.

Fire officials say the blaze was contained by 10:28 AM and brought under control by 11:45 AM.

No human lives were lost, police said. However, firefighters who tried to rescue the dogs were forced back by the intense smoke and heat.

Volunteers from Toms River Fire Companies 1 and 2 were joined by the East Dover, Pleasant Plains, Silverton and Island Heights squads.

Toms River Police Detective Tom DiMichele heads up the probe along with Detectives John Doran and Tim Haskel of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office and Dan Molyneaux from the county Sheriff's office.