Dozens left jobless after fire tears through row of stores in High Bridge

A fire that took nearly two hours to get under control Sunday evening has destroyed five businesses along Ogden Avenue and left nearly 30 people without jobs.

More than 60 firefighters battled the blaze. One fire captain said at first it was hard to tell where the fire started because all of the stores had their gates down. But after using a thermal imaging camera, firefighters were able to determine that the fire began in the Shop Smart Supermarket and quickly spread to the beauty salon, transmission shop, pizzeria and 99-cent store.

Later this week, Department of Buildings officials will inspect the row of stores to see if the structure is safe. For now, some storeowners said they would do their best to help their employees.

Firefighters say the damage was so bad that it could be months before the stores are rebuilt.

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