ELGIN, Ill. (STMW) — A large fire at a liquor store in Elgin on Wednesday left the business a complete loss.

Firefighters arriving at 2JS Liquor, 950 E. Chicago St., had to pull security gates off the doors and windows at the far-east-side store before they could begin fighting a blaze that gutted the building, officials said Wednesday.

Those flames caused “major structural damage, major fire damage” that likely will result in “a complete loss,” according to Battalion Chief Tim Michaels of the Elgin Fire Department.

A passerby had alerted Elgin firefighters to a structure fire at the liquor store at 11:22 p.m. Tuesday, Michaels said. That motorist reported seeing smoke coming from the building’s roofline, he added, and the roof was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived.

After firefighters pulled off the extensive security gates, a portion of the building’s north roof had already began caving in, according to the battalion chief.

“We went defensive,” fighting the fire from the outside instead of endangering personnel by sending them in, he said.

While firefighters brought the blaze under control within about 45 minutes, hot spots continued to flare up from the roofline, Michaels said. Firefighters did not believe the liquor inside added to the fire load, however, he said. He also noted the building was not fitted with a sprinkler system.

“We do not have these kinds of problems in sprinkled buildings,” Michaels said.

Firefighters continued working the blaze until about 4 a.m. Wednesday, he said, and its cause remained under investigation.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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