The flames broke out at about 5:30 a.m. at an apartment building on 21st Street near Hopkins Place in Irvington.
"I woke up, heard a pop, saw the store on fire," Irvington resident Robert Thompson said. " So I'm running around, looking for my pants...And I decided I think I better get out of there."
It was a good decision to forget looking for stuff and just get out, as the flames overtook the building.
"When I pulled up, from ground to roof was nothing but fire," deputy fire chief Randy Coddington said.
Where it started is under investigation, but the flames burned through the six-family apartment building. It then spread to the three-family home next door.
About 50 firefighters from Irvington and Newark got the three-alarm fire under control. The fire destroyed the goods inside the B and F Mini Market on the corner.
Margie DeJesus has owned the store for 12 years. She was shaken, surveying the damage.
"My mother says God always does things for a reason," she said. "Maybe it's my time to leave."
The cause of the blaze is also under investigation.