MOUNT OLIVE, NJ - No evidence suggesting arson or other suspicious activity was found during a probe of the fire that destroyed the Longhorn Steakhouse in Mount Arlington on Jan 19, authorities said today.
However, although the investigation into the blaze is complete, a cause has yet to be determined, they said.
The news came in a statement from Acting Morris County Prosecutor Robert Carroll, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Detectives Christoph Kimker and Mount Olive Police Chief Stephen Beecher.
"The fire scene investigation is complete and the cause is undetermined at this time," they said. "Although the fire is deemed not suspicious, the overall investigation remains ongoing."
The joint investigation was conducted by the Mount Olive Police Department, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Arson & Environmental Crimes Unit, with assistance from the Mount Olive Fire Marshal’s Office and Flanders Fire Department, said the officials.
The restaurant on International Drive was consumed by a three-alarm blaze that broke out shortly before midnight. Firefighters said they encountered "heavy fire" throughout the structure above its drop ceiling upon arrival. The firefighters were eventually evacuated from the building when the roof - which held heavy air conditioners - became compromised.
The building had to be demolished by an excavator due to extensive damage, said the Mount Olive fire marshal. Nobody was injured in the fire or during the firefighting activity, officials said.
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