An organization that has helped Sandy victims and people in crisis situations for over five years, now finds themselves in a crisis.  Hometown Heroes was one of the tenants of the building that went up in flames at 27 Washington Street in downtown Toms River overnight.


Jennifer Barna and Mike Schwartz of Hometown Heroes, by Rosetta Key Townsquare Media

Smelling of smoke and up all night, Hometown HeroesPresident Mike Schwartz and Executive Director Jennifer Barna said they're devastated. They lost the thousands of records of the untold numbers of people they've helped over the years, mementos, a signed guitar earmarked for auctioning off at a fundraiser and hundreds of treasured thank you cards.

Large Fire in Downtown Toms River, by T. Trembly Townsquare Media

When asked how the public can help Hometown Heroes, it was difficult for the pair to even come up with an answer as they try to comprehend what they said is a total loss but Schwartz says anyone interested in assisting can go to the Hometown Heroes website where they'll be posting updates on their needs.

Toms River Fire Company No. 1 was alerted to the fire from an alarm at 27 Washington Street around 11:30 p.m. Thursday night  It took multiple fire departments several hours to put out the blaze at around 2 a.m. Friday morning. There's word the fire started in a store that sells vintage computer games but no word on the cause.  The building is structurally unsound and officials were concerned a wall would come down.