Manchester liquor store destroyed in massive early morning fire

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MANCHESTER -- Fire crews battled a large fire at a liquor store in Manchester  Wednesday morning.

Crews arrived at M & R Liquors at 120 Tolland Turnpike, or Route 83, in Manchester, just before  4 a.m. after a passerby reported seeing smoke.

Investigators said late in the afternoon the fire started near center of the attic space above the drop ceiling.  The fire was able to gain momentum before smoke would have been seen outside.  Electrical wiring in the attic space is being examined but the cause is undetermined for now.

Part of the roof had collapsed and the building became fully involved in flames within five minutes of firefighters arriving on scene, with flames noted near the rear corner of the roof. It was immediately clear crews wouldn't be able to fight the fire from the inside. Fire departments from nearby towns were called in to offer mutual aid. No other buildings were impacted.

The building did not have sprinklers or a fire alarm, and officials said that the contents of the store - alcohol - helped fuel the fire. Part of the Tolland Turnpike in Manchester was closed while crews battled the fire, but has since reopened.

There were no injuries and nobody was in the building at the time of fire.

Fire crews remained at the scene all morning.

The owner said he had six M & R Liquors locations in the greater Hartford area and is asking people to go to his South Windsor location so that he can use that money to rebuild this Manchester store. He said his family business has been around since 1952.