A fire that roared through a Toms River strip mall has been ruled accidental, despite some earlier suspicions by victims that foul play had been involved.
The July 9 fire at Ocean National Plaza, located at the corner of Cox Cro Road and Route 9, severely damaged the five businesses that were located there: Esposito’s Pizza; Azteca Mexican Restaurant and Bakery, Wing Far Chinese Restaurant, Kokomo Nail Spa, and BJ’s Dry Cleaners.
Initially, witnesses described what they believed to be suspicious activity that may have contributed to the blaze, but investigators with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office ultimately determined that electrical equipment at the dry cleaning business – specifically, equipment located in the overhang of the store – sparked the fire.
“After a thorough scene examination and review of area surveillance video, [the] witness accounts proved to be inaccurate,” said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office.
Attention has now turned to the dry cleaning business, whose customers have been asking authorities how they can be reimbursed for any items of clothing that were left there. The prosecutor’s office contacted the business’s owner, who provided the information at the end of this story.
Along with the prosecutor’s office, the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Toms River Police Department Detective Bureau, Toms River Township Fire Prevention Bureau and the New Jersey State Fire Marshal’s Office Arson / K-9 Unit investigated the incident.
For customers of BJ’s Cleaners:
To our Valued customers,
As you know, fire destroyed the entire building on July 9th, 2018 including BJ’s Cleaners. The cause of the fire was not caused by any negligence by myself or any of my staff. I apologize for any inconvenience and loss that you have suffered.
At the direction of my insurance company, Nationwide Property and Casualty Insurance Company, they have advised me to gather the following information as quickly as possible. Until Nationwide reviews and decides as to how claims will be handled, they have requested the following:
- Your Name
- Your address
- A contact phone number
- A list of the articles of clothing with a detailed as possible a description of the same.
- The approximate value and age of the article.
- Your laundry ticket
- If possible, your email address.
Please forward your response to these questions to: BJPAK1234@gmail.com.
Please be aware that any action taken by the undersigned should not be construed as a waiver of the rights of BJ’s cleaners nor an admission of liability.
This has been and continues to be a terrible hardship for my family and myself. I appreciate your patience throughout this process.
Thank you for your business and I look forward to rebuilding my store and to serve you in the future.
And the staff of BJ’s Cleaners