LACEY — A co-owner of Caffrey's Tavern and Steakhouse said the restaurant will rebuild as the three alarm fire was determined to be accidental by investigators.

Wednesday's fire at the Route 9 restaurant started on a stove top on the west wall of  kitchen just before 9 a.m. and spread quickly through the roof, causing damage to the entire restaurant, according to an investigation led by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office. The fire was brought under control but it took several hours for the building to be safe to enter.

Dan Coleman said he and Joe DePasquale plan to start rebuilding right away. A new outdoor facility had been planned and they will continue with that project.

Coleman said one of his employees was working in the kitchen and was doing prep work just before the fire started. No employees were injured but one firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion.

Coleman said he is grateful for the firefighters and first aid squads that showed up on Wednesday. He was also appreciative of the Wawa next door for supplying water and food.

He is most concerned about his employees who will be without work but was thankful several area restaurants have stepped up with employment offers.

The Prosecutor’s Office Arson Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Department CIU, Ocean County Fire Marshal's Office, State Fire Marshal's Office and Lacey Township Detective Bureau worked to learn the cause and origin of the blaze.

Kevin Williams contributed to this report

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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