SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Shoppers going to the Town Place Shopping Plaza on Route 27 in Kendall Park on Wednesday found most of the stores closed due to a problem with the fire alarm system.

Instead of the usual hustle and bustle of the plaza on Wednesday afternoon, shoppers found yellow signs from the fire marshal affixed to the locked front doors of the various plaza businesses announcing that the building was not safe for use or occupancy from 11 p.m. Tuesday night.

Township Fire Marshal Alan Laird said that he ordered the building closed Tuesday night after the fire alarm went off in a couple of the businesses, but a notification to a central system was not sent.

Sign Up for E-News

“It was a malfunction in the (fire alarm) panel,” Laird said Wednesday afternoon. “They are having it replaced.”

As a result of the failure to notify a central system, the alarms on Tuesday were not called in until 20 minutes later, Laird said.

The alarms turned out to be false, but the building cannot be occupied until the system is fixed, he said.

The only business conducted included prescription pickups at the CVS Pharmacy drive-thru window and alterations in the front part of Town Cleaners dry cleaning store.

A woman, identifying herself as the cleaning business owner’s wife, said that the store was only open for clothing alterations, which take place up front, but closed for dry cleaning operations due to the fire alarm situation.

Laird said that the cleaning business should not be open during the repairs at all.

“If (the store) was open, they are in violation of the order,” Laird said. “The only people allowed in that building are from the alarm company and the CVS pharmacists for pickup at the drive-thru.”

All of the other businesses, including a paint shop, bank, massage site, two restaurants, a nail parlor, beauty salon, bakery, liquor store, gym and a new martial arts studio, sat darkened and closed.

Laird said the plaza could be open later today or possibly tomorrow depending on how long the repairs take.

The 87,575 square-foot building was built in 2006 and is owned by Network Realty.

A phone message with the company seeking comment was not returned by Wednesday afternoon.