The three-alarm fire started shortly after e11:00 p.m. on Monday night. Firefighters believe it started accidently and quickly raced through the common attic area. By Tuesday morning, flames had damaged or destroyed five Cupertino businesses.
"The sheer weight of the roof made the whole structure on top collapse," said Captain Gilbert Smith from Santa Clara Fire Department.
This was just one fire, but because this is a strip mall, every boarded up business has its own story and people are already feeling a loss.
Linda Jia is the owner of Kitchen Max. The kitchen and bath remodeling business is one of three completely gutted by fire. Gone too are Green Valley Liquors and a yoga/martial arts studio.
"I say oh everything's gone. I just say everything's gone. That's my life," said Jia.
As the fire spread, so did the lives it touched including all of the women who work at Tiffany's Beauty Shop.
"Right now I'm all shake up and I don't know what I'm going to do next," said beauty salon employee Nina Thuong.
In this economy finding work until the damage is repaired won't be easy.
"God knows are they going to accept us or not to work temporary, we don't know what's going to happen," said beauty salon employee Fara Talik.
In some ways the property losses are easier to handle. They're covered by insurance.
"We're probably looking at 6-8,000 square feet and upwards of a $1 million for replacement costs," said property manager Mike Kronzer.
Marilyn Messina will oversee the rebuilding. Her parents first built the strip mall 40 years ago.
"I'm just very grateful there's been no injuries, no loss of life, this is replaceable," said Messina.
Replacable yes, but not without pain. Reza Damabeh has owned the now damaged 7-11 for 30 years.
"Take time. In general everybody loses, no one is a winner in this game," said Damabeh.
One fire and so many lives on hold.