Though firefighters arrived shortly after 3 a.m. to find only heavy smoke, it quickly turned into a conflagration.
Flames spread throughout a low rise building that was divided into fourteen stores, including a Dunkin' Donuts and a fish store.
"Fire spread pretty quick because it got in the space between the ceiling of the store and the roof boards," said Fire Chief John Sudnik said.
Approximately 150 firefighters responded. Their plan of attack quickly transformed into a purely exterior operation because of the rapid advance of the flames.
"It got too far ahead of us and we pulled our firefighters out for safety reasons," Sudnik said.
As firefighters continued to apply massive amounts of water to flame, fire investigators began the process of understanding how the fire started in this strip of stores that had suffered another fire this past April.
CBS 2HD's John Metaxas contributed to this report.