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Arson suspected in third-alarm fire that destroyed former Just For Fun Roller Rink in McHenry

Firefighters work to contain a large structure fire at 914 North Front Street in McHenry Thursday evening. | Photo: Tyler Tobolt / Tri-State – USFiR Photography.

The Illinois State Fire Marshal is assisting in the investigation of what fire officials say is a suspected arson fire that destroyed the former Just For Fun Roller Rink in McHenry Thursday evening.

The McHenry Fire Protection District and McHenry Police Department responded around 10:27 p.m. Thursday to 914 North Front Street for a report of a structure fire.

Firefighters arrived to find a large vacant commercial building heavily engulfed in flames, according to McHenry Fire Battalion Chief David Harwood.

The building is where the Just For Fun Roller Rink was located until it permanently closed in the fall of 2020.

The Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) was activated to the third alarm level for additional firefighters and equipment.

Firefighters work to contain a large structure fire at 914 North Front Street in McHenry Thursday evening. | Photo: Tyler Tobolt / Tri-State – USFiR Photography.

Harwood said that firefighters began a defensive fire attack by applying water to the building using deck guns on several fire engines, the aerial devices on three ladder trucks, and several large diameter hose lines.

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High winds out of the north hampered firefighting efforts by fueling the fire, Harwood said.

The fire was mostly extinguished by around 3:30 a.m. Friday. Police closed Route 31 in front of the business until around 6:30 a.m. Friday.

The McHenry Fire Protection District was assisted by 17 other fire departments at the scene and to cover calls in McHenry.

Firefighters work to contain a large structure fire at 914 North Front Street in McHenry Thursday evening. | Photo: Tyler Tobolt / Tri-State – USFiR Photography.

“Several hot spots are expected to flare up throughout the night into Friday due to the strong sustained winds. [Firefighters] will be checking on the building periodically for flare-ups,” Harwood said.

The fire is considered suspicious, Harwood said, adding that the building was a total loss and collapsed. A damage estimate was not immediately available.

No injuries were reported.

The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal, McHenry Police Department and McHenry Township Fire Protection District is investigating the fire.