(Robert Plummer via Ocean County Scanner News)

FORKED RIVER — A fire broke out Wednesday morning at Caffrey's Tavern, a popular Jersey Shore restaurant.

The Ocean County Sheriff's Office sent out an alert about the fire just before 9 a.m. and described it as a "large fire." Sheriff Mike Mastronardy said there were no reported injuries but he did not know if anyone was inside at the time.

Eyeiwtnesses told Jersey Shore Online the back and roof of the restaurant appeared to be completely destroyed.

The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office is investigating the cause of the fire but as of 1:30 p.m. the building was deemed unsafe to enter.

According to the restaurant's website, it normally opens at 11 a.m. during the week.

Pictures of the fire showed black smoke coming out of a second floor window .

Andrew Heins said he was driving up the side road between Caffrey's and Wawa and saw heavy smoke from over a block away.

"By the time i went into the Wawa to buy my drink, the smoke was intense and starting to waft into the Wawa parking lot. By the time i came back outside the flames were visible. It's a truly sad day for Lacey. They have the best wings in town and were always packed," Heins said.

Route 9 was closed in both directions between Beach Blvd and Lakeside Drive South.

 

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ