BRICK TOWNSHIP - A large fire has damaged a popular Italian restaurant in Ocean County.

The fire started at Villa Vittoria on Hooper Avenue in Brick Township around 3:30 p.m. Monday.

Firefighters from several surrounding towns were called in to help fight the blaze.

Several people inside the restaurant at the time were forced to evacuate. No one was hurt.

Witnesses tell News 12 New Jersey that they think the fire may have started in the kitchen.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.