The fire started at 12:23 a.m. at a record store, and quickly spread to a nail salon, a church, an accounting office and several other stores.
Firefighters were inside the record store when the roof started to sag, forcing everyone out.
Because of the still air and humidity the smoke got thicker and thicker.
When the smoke lifted and the sun came up, a clear picture emerged of a total loss. Trevor Walker's brand new record store and recording studio was a destroyed. For eight years, he was across the street. He had just moved here.
"The grand opening was to be Saturday. We didn't even open up yet," he said.
Eight street level businesses are gone here and below all of them is a 7200 square foot basement church. The pastor says he is devastated.
"Right now I don't even want to look at it," he said.
Pastor Cudjoe's congregation is 400 strong. He's worried about musical instruments inside, documents, computers and rebuilding. The poor economy means it will be tough, but for now, other churches have already reached out to share space.
"They say come anytime we want a meeting space," he said.
As church members and business owners take in all that is gone, they insist they are not without hope.
Investigators were still trying to determine the cause of the fire.