Total loss: Two-alarm fire destroys liquor store on Milwaukee's north side

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Firefighters on Tuesday night, May 19th were called out to the scene of a fire at Mother's Food and Liquor near 24th and Hopkins. The call came in around 10:30 p.m.

When crews arrived on scene, they encountered heavy smoke coming from the building. As a result, three homes surrounding the business had to be evacuated. No injuries were reported.

"We thought the fire was burning either in the basement or on the top floor -- and it turned out it was burning on the top floor," said Battalion Chief Dewayne Smoots.

"The flames, they went 50 feet in the air at times. The liquor store started on fire and it was kind of scary. I thought it would get to my house and that would be kind of rough," neighbor Charles Jones said.

Battalion Chief Smoots tells FOX6 News that the business did not have working smoke detectors -- but says not all businesses are required to have them.

The cause of the fire is unknown and remains under investigation.