Jackson Hewitt store ruined in fire, but other businesses saved
Carpentersville firefighters managed to save a strip mall from ruin Monday night, but couldn't stop the fire from taking the business where it started.

At 9:30 p.m., a Carpentersville police officer discovered flames shooting from a Jackson Hewitt store, one of a half-dozen adjoining businesses along Besinger Drive.

"The building does have a fire alarm," Carpentersville fire Capt. Rick Paul said. "But it didn't seem to be working properly at the time."

Because of the cold weather - which dipped to single-digit temperatures Monday night - and the proximity of the buildings to one another, nearly a dozen area fire agencies were called to the scene.

Working in stages, firefighters extinguished the fire within 15 minutes but then spent another two hours dousing the site.

Their actions meant the neighboring businesses suffered only minor water damage.

"But Jackson Hewitt is completely gone," Paul said. "There's nothing there but ashes."

Fire officials have determined the fire originated in the front of the business, either from a space heater left on or a bad electrical outlet.

"There's nothing suspicious at all," Paul said.