The roof of Chili's Restaurant on 2105 Route 35 North in Holmdel caught fire today, after a maintenance worker using a blowtorch ignited it, according to police.
"The fire started around 12:30 p.m," said restaurant manager Kevin Potenski. "We noticed smoke in the restaurant and we evacuated." Potenski said the restaurant was set to reopen at 5 p.m.
According to Lt. Michael Smith, employees of DDP Roofing out of Pennsylvania were using a roofing torch for maintenance and ignited the roof.
"It was a wood frame roof, and the first thing that ignited was the plywood underneath the roofing," said the Chief of Fire Company Number Two, John Boyle, Sr. "The roofing company actually tried to put it out on their own, with extinguishers, and they couldn't get to all of it."
A kitchen fire about eight years ago shut the restaurant for about a week, said Boyle.
Holmdel Fire Company extinguished the fire. Others responding were the Holmdel Fire Marshal, Holmdel First Aid, Union Beach Fire Department, Hazlet Fire Department, the North Centerville Fire Department, Monmouth County Fire Marshal, and the Monmouth County Health Department.