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Engineer to Examine Fire-Damaged Building [AUDIO]

The downtown Toms River building damaged in a fire Thursday is undergoing a structural assessment by an engineer, hired by the property owner, to determine whether the building can be saved or needs to be demolished.

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Toms River fire
Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ

That’s according to township engineer Robert Chankalian, who said that once a determination is made, the owner will have to make a decision “whether it’s economically viable to rehabilitate it, or whether it’s to be reconstructed.”

Chankalian said the owner had construction crews come in Friday afternoon to remove unstable parapet walls damaged by flames that went through the roof of the two-story building, which housed several businesses at the intersection of Robbins and Washington streets.

“At this point, we know the building is stable outside the foundation for the public,” he said.

It could take a week for the structural engineer to complete a full report.

“It’s really just whether the beams — steel or wood beams — whether they were damaged during the fire and can be reused,” Chankalian said, “or whether it’s a point where it’s not economically feasible to keep it.”

The building was constructed between 1901 and 1903, and its current tenants include East Coast Gamers, Capone’s Gourmet Pizza, and Hometown Heroes. Tax rolls list the owner as 27 Washington Street Associates.

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