MATAWAN—A fire destroyed a Mexican restaurant on Main Street in the borough early Tuesday and damaged a pet store next door, police said.
The Aby Mexican restaurant fire was reported shortly after 2:30 a.m.
First responders saw smoke billowing from the back of the one-story brick building at 32 Main Street and flames appearing there, said Detective Joseph Mason of the Matawan Police Department.
It took firefighters about an hour to get most of the blaze under control, he said.
The fire severely damaged the restaurant, destroying it, he said. The neighboring business, Feather Fabulous Birds, suffered some damage, although the extent of the damage was not yet known.
The Monmouth County SPCA, which provides animal control for Matawan and other towns, was called to pick up some of the birds, Mason said.
Ross Licitra, executive director of the SPCA, said a hamster and a few birds died from smoke inhalation. The remaining hamsters, gerbils and birds were kept safe, he said.
According to the restaurant websiteit opened in 2002, starting as a pizzeria and then gradually moving into Mexican cuisine.
No cause for the fire has been determined, Mason said. The Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating.
Editor’s note: the name of the pet store provided by the authorities was wrong in the original story and has been corrected in this updated version.
Ken Serrano covers crime, breaking news, investigations and local issues. Contact him at [email protected]