LACEY – Investigators have determined that the fire that destroyed Caffrey’s Tavern was accidental.
The fire is believed to have begun at the stove top along the west wall of the kitchen, according to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
The fire was reported Wednesday morning just before 9 a.m. It spread quickly through the roof system, severely damaging the entire building. Lacey Township Police Department and multiple local fire departments responded to the blaze. They got it under control by 11:30 a.m.
One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion at Community Medical Center in Toms River. There were no injuries.
The fire was investigated by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Criminalistics Investigation Unit, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, State Fire Marshal’s Office and Lacey Township Detective Bureau.
ORIGINAL REPORT by Kimberly Bosco
FORKED RIVER – Route 9 was reopened in both directions by 1:45 p.m., nearly five hours following the fire that destroyed Caffrey’s Restaurant on Wednesday.
Caffrey’s, located at 440 Route 9 South, suffered a three-alarm fire. Beginning in the morning and raging on throughout the afternoon, the structure appears now to be completely destroyed.
Lacey Police were notified of the fire around 9 a.m. when they received numerous calls about smoke coming from the building. Upon arrival, police observed heavy smoke and large flames coming from the kitchen area. Officers confirmed everyone was evacuated from the restaurant.
Route 9 was closed during the day between Lakeside Drive South and Parker’s Point Boulevard.
Crews from Lacey Police, Forked River, Lanoka Harbor and Bamber Lake Fire Companies responded to extinguish the fire. Lacey Township EMS and Lanoka Harbor First Aid also responded, along with a firefighter rehabilitation unit from Stafford Township. The Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, the NJ State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Lacey Township Police Detective Bureau, the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department and the Ocean County Prosecutors Office assisted in the response and investigation.
Donations of beverages and snacks were given to crews at the scene courtesy of the Lacey Wawa located next to Caffrey’s, according to social media posts.
Any displaced Caffrey’s employees have been invited to apply to other establishments such as the Toms River Spot, Social 37 and Acme Draft House by locals via social media.
“Thank you everybody for the kind wishes, no one was harmed in the incident, we will be shutting down our Facebook page until further notice,” stated Caffrey’s.
Lacey Police Chief Michael C. DiBella stated that the investigation is ongoing.
“I would like to give a special thanks to the Wawa, located across the street from Caffrey’s Tavern, for all of their support during the fire,” stated DiBella.