The Village of Mackinaw, Illinois is mourning the loss of what's being called a staple in their community.
Noah Zehr promised "More memories are yet to come" as he and a crowd of about 150 onlookers watched as their longtime community grocery store, IGA, was destroyed by fire.
About 10:30 a.m. today, nearly 40 firefighters from three departments met at their small town after a fire erupted. Numerous water tenders were used to haul in water to fight the fire.
Despite their hard efforts the nearly 150-year-old building was lost. Damage is estimated to exceed $300,000.
"We've been here a long time. ...But everything happens for a reason," said Zehr, son of Brett Zehr, owner of the IGA store. "A lot of great memories are going to come out of it. Maybe not today, but someday there will be a lot of good times that come out of rebuilding. Great memories gone. Great memories to come."
The Illinois State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating.
Many friends and patrons offered hugs to owner Brett Zehr as he watched the family business, engulfed in flames.
Gasps could be heard from the community as they watched part of the building collapse.
Thankfully the few employees and customers that were inside when the fire started escaped safely.
Large plumes of black smoke could be seen for miles. That same smoke also blanketed the town's square and surrounding streets like fog.
The businesses along Mackinaw's Main Street emptied as owners and customers watched the landmark building buckle in the blaze. The intense heat from the fire could be felt across the street.
Residents will have to make do without a supermarket for now until a new IGA is constructed.