A three-alarm fire damaged a used appliance store on Tolland Street in East Hartford early Wednesday morning and the family who was living inside illegally was able to get out and did not suffer injuries.
The fire broke out at J Used Appliances Repair & Service around 2 a.m. and spread to the attic, causing the roof to collapse, officials said.
The business owner, who said he was living inside the commercial building with his wife and their three young children and the family dog, noticed smoke early Wednesday morning and was able to get out before firefighters arrived.
When firefighters got to the scene, flames were shooting out the back of the business and smoke was pouring from the roof. Crews fought the fire, but had to get out of the building and fight the fire from the outside once the flames overtook the attic.
Chief John Oates, of the East Hartford Fire Department, said the condition of the structure and the number of used appliances, including washers, dryers, refrigerators throughout the building, complicated the efforts to put out the fire.
No firefighters were injured during the fire.
The fire marshal will determine the cause of the blaze.