The fire broke out on the first floor of a store at Broadway and West 207th Street in Inwood just before 11:15 p.m. Tuesday.
Firefighters battled the bitter cold and the heavy flames, and many of them were treated at the scene.
"Water, when it gets frozen, it gets on the ground, and sometimes you can see it's like black ice," FDNY Chief Thomas Jermmott said. "Of course, you can't move. The lines, they freeze. They get stiff. It's a challenge."
The fire may have started in a restaurant, and spread through as many as eight stores.
Fire burned through the second floor and ripped through the roof.
Residents, possibly living on the second floor, were forced out by the flames.
A train subway service was suspended from from 207th Street to Dyckman Street because of smoke at the 207th Street station.
Also, the M100, BX7, BX20, BNX12 and SBS12 buses were rerouted because Broadway was closed.
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