A three-alarm fire that broke out early Friday morning in downtown Toms River is out but crews remain to put out out hot spots and begin their investigation onto the fire on the corner of Washington and Robbins Street.

Aftermath of fire in downtown Toms River
Aftermath of fire in downtown Toms River (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)

Police expect Washington Street to remain closed for several hours into the Friday morning commute as the Toms River Bureau of Fire Prevention, Ocean County Prosecutor's Office and the Ocean County Fire Marshall begins their investigation.

Water Street has reopened.

The area is home to the Ocean County Library's Toms River branch, the Ocean County Justice Complex and Toms River High School South.

Toms River Schools spokesperson Tammi Millar says High School South will be open as usual and buses will be able to get students to the school. They will not be allowed outside for lunch, however.

The fire ignited on a corner building that includes Capone's Gourmet Pizza & Pasta and East Coast Gamers in downtown Toms River and completely destroyed the offices of the charity Hometown Heroes.

Founder Michael Schwartz says Hometown Heroes lost all of their records and a wall of thank you cards in the blaze."Our computers, phones and office space are gone," wrote the organization on their Facebook page.

Toms River Fire Chief Eddie Storino.tells NBC 4 New York the fire started in the East Coast Gamers store.

Fire fighters from Toms River Fire Companies 1 and 2, East Dover, Brick, Seaside Heights, Manitou Park, Forked River and Bayville responded to the fire and used  a ladder truck to access the roof of the building where smoke was billowing out. The building was unoccupied at the time of the fire.

Flames have begun shooting from the building as fire fighters continue to battle the blaze after 1 a.m.

Ocean County Sheriff Mike Mastronardy, said the blaze is was brought under control after 3 a.m. . He said one fire fighter was affected by smoke inhalation. Fire Fighters are also concerned about the stability of one of the walls of the building.

The Toms River Business Improvement District says the New Jersey State Chili and Salsa Cookoff  on Saturday in downtown Toms River will go as scheduled.


Dianne DeOliveira,  Kevin Williams, Sue Moll, Marianne Levy and Tom Trembly contributed to this report

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