A liquor store in Manchester was "totally destroyed" by a fire early Wednesday morning.
Firefighters were called to a second-alarm fire at M&R liquors that began shortly before 4 a.m. The fire was called into dispatch by a passing driver. The building, located at 120 Tolland Turnpike, was engulfed in flames upon arrival and crews have been called from surrounding towns for mutual aid.
"When we first arrived, there was a very heavy fire in the rear corner of the building," Manchester Fire Chief Donald Moore said. "The rest of the building was fully charged with smoke. There was smoke coming from the windows. We knew that it was the potential for a backdraft situation."
More than 30 firefighters battled the flames.
Firefighters told Eyewitness News that it was way too dangerous to fight the fire from inside the building because of the flammable alcohol. They said that was just one of the challenges they faced.
"The fire was very intense and as it reached different pockets of alcohol there were small explosions. At this point there is nothing really left to explode, there are no hazards," Manchester Fire Chief David Billings said.
Crews said the fire started in the center of the attic space, above a drop ceiling. Electrical wiring in the attic space is being examined.
Fire officials said the building did not have any sprinklers or fire alarms, which made the firefighting effort difficult. The fire itself was fast-moving and burned very hot.
"Obviously it's a very high fire load, and so the fire was very hot, very intense," Moore said. "And this is what's called a truss construction roof, metal construction. So it fell really quickly in a hot fire. So that's why we had a building collapse within five or ten minutes of our arrival."
Gary Rounseville runs the family-owned business with his brother. They own a total of six stores in the state.
"This store has been in this location since 1980," he said.
Buildings adjacent to M&R Liquors were "protected" and "did not suffer any damage."
No one was hurt in the fire, according to Billings.
Tolland Turnpike was partially blocked off at Taylor Street, however, the road has since reopened. Moore said he expected crews to remain on the scene until about noon. Billings said they ere working to "extinguish hidden pockets of fire and assist with the fire investigation."
M&R Liquors is a family-owned business and moved into the building in 1980. The stores are named after the brothers parents, Marrion and Roy.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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