This building meant a lot to people out here, it housed six business and a historic abandoned hotel on top. It all went up in flames Monday morning. The building is still standing, but windows are shattered, and businesses destroyed.
Shop owners like Irene Aviles are devastated. "I can't even put a price on it, it isn't even about the money, it's the heart where it hurts the most."
She ran the upscale 7 Salon, a business she took over three years ago. She renovated it and hired 10 people, it's all gone now. "I've done a lot to it and I was very proud of it and my employees and I'm very devastated because I put a lot of my time into it to please people."
Investigators believe the fire started in the computer store next door to the salon, and quickly spread to the second floor. That part of the building is vacant, but it used to be the Vendome Hotel, established in 1891. The old structure made the battle difficult for firefighters.
"It made the building really unsound, it's un-reinforced masonry that dates back to pre-30's so you're dealing with a potential collapse at that point."
Gayne Alexander watched it burn, along with his classic pinball machines and juke boxes. Pieces he was hoping the antique shop would help him sell. "I just look at it like, no one got hurt, things are things and they can be replaced."
Daphne Dean is one of the antique shop owners. She lost pieces that dated back to the Civil War and the early 1800s, a collection that took her 15 years to complete. "I feel like, how are we going to start over, are we going to?? I don't know."
The fire also severed a bond, between owners, employees, and neighbors. The hardest part for Christina Spires, who worked in the salon. "Now it's like tearing up a family, we're all gonna have to go our separate ways...There's no way a shop is gonna take all 11 of us and stay together."
Investigators are not sure how the fire started. They were out investigating through Tuesday and the streets will likely be blocked off until they're done.
Firefighters estimate the damage to be somewhere between $1 and 2 million.