6 businesses destroyed in fire at Long Island strip mall

UNIONDALE, Long Island (WABC) -- Six businesses were destroyed when a fire tore through a strip mall on Long Island Thursday morning.

The flames broke out at one of the stores on Uniondale Avenue in Uniondale around 5:30 a.m. and quickly spread to the neighboring structures.

A restaurant, a barbershop, a Metro PCS, an electrician, a hair salon and a bar were all gutted. It is believed the fire started in the bar.

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They were all closed at the time and no injuries were reported, but business owners were devastated.

"Everything is destroyed," Metro PCS owner Joel Mabera said. "We're trying to figure out what we're going to do. Everything is a mess inside."

Susan Graham has owned Majestic Hair Designs for nearly 30 years.

"It's devastating," friend Diane Rolling said. "She worked so hard so many years to build the business."

Still, Graham said she's keeping it in perspective.

"There is so much other things going on, people are fighting for life," she said. "People are in the hospital fighting for life. There is things going on in our community. This will pass away. God is in control."

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Eyewitness News was there when the owner of the bar tried to retrieve cash from his money box. Nothing was inside, not even evidence of charred bills.

The owner made a comment to investigators that he believes he was robbed.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, and Nassau County Fire Marshals and Nassau police detectives have been called to assist.

Uniondale Fire Chief Avril Ashley said the fire was difficult to get under control because the stores were filled with combustible materials.

"Anything that could feed or fuel a fire was there," he said.

Ashley said several firefighters suffered minor injuries.

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