Toms River strip mall fire that destroyed 5 shops ruled an accident

Posted: Updated:

A fast-moving fire that destroyed five businesses at an Ocean County strip mall earlier this month has been deemed an accident.

The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office announced the finding Wednesday.

Investigators determined that the July 9 fire started in the overhang of BJ’s Cleaners at the Ocean National Plaza in Toms River and soon spread to the other stores. They said a malfunction of energized electrical equipment at the cleaners could not be eliminated as the cause of the blaze.

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

No injuries were reported.

The owner of BJ’s Cleaners says that customers who had clothing destroyed by the fire should send the following information to

  1. Your Name
  2. Your address
  3. A contact phone number
  4. A list of the articles of clothing with as detailed as possible a description of the clothing.
  5. The approximate value and age of the article.
  6. Your laundry ticket
  7. If possible, your email address.

The information will be sent to the cleaner’s insurance company for review.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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