An early morning three-alarm fire ripped through Burlington’s Pearl Street Beverage on Wednesday, badly damaging the liquor store and the adjacent business, Lakeside Pharmacy.
Nearly 40 firefighters, both on duty and off, responded to the blaze, which was called in shortly after 2 a.m. The fire, at 240 Pearl Street, was considered under control some two hours later.
Fire Chief Steven Locke said the fire caused approximately $1 million in damage to Pearl Street Beverage and about $300,000 in smoke damage to Lakeside Pharmacy. The fire was caused by a malfunction in the building's electrical system, according to Locke.
Pictures from the scene show most of the front glass windows of the liquor store were broken out. The city fire department said there were no automatic sprinklers in the building.
Aside from operating as a state liquor store, Pearl Street Beverage is known for its wide selection of craft beers, party supplies and wines. It's also the booze outlet closest to the University of Vermont and is popular with students.
The store ranks as one of the busiest liquor agents in the state. In terms of sales from 2014, the location was second only to the Beverage Warehouse in Winooski.
The blaze also damaged the independently owned and operated Lakeside Pharmacy, located directly next-door to the liquor outlet. Locke said those in need of prescriptions should contact their doctor to have them filled elsewhere.
The owners of both businesses could not immediately be reached for comment.