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Five-Alarm Fire Rips Through Row Of Businesses In Suffern: 'Nothing To Save... Everything Is Finished'

SUFFERN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Frigid temperatures added to the challenge of a five-alarm fire in Rockland County on Wednesday.

Business owners in Suffern are now totaling up the extensive loss, CBS2's Tony Aiello reported.

There was nothing to be salvaged inside the business Muhammad Khan spent four years building.

"I lost the business right now. Nothing to save. Inside, all is, everything is, finished," Khan said.

The immigrant from Pakistan said inventory loss alone at his halal market tops $200,000.

Upstairs, there was a mess created by heavy smoke and the water used to fight the fire.

Chopper 2 was over the scene Wednesday morning as the five-alarm fire downtown brought 80 first responders, including some from neighboring Mahwah, New Jersey.

Flames were seen shooting out of the back of 83 Lafayette Ave. Temperatures in the upper teens caused all kinds of problems, including slipping. Workers spread ice melt to help with traction.

"The cold is the biggest difficulty -- rotating guys in and out, hose lines freezing up," Suffern Fire Chief Jeremy Kaufer said.

A bus was called to the scene to serve as a place to warm up.

suffern fire
Frigid temperatures made for nasty conditions for firefighters as they battled a huge fire Wednesday on morning in Rockland County. (CBS2)

The damage spread to multiple businesses, including Pine Knoll Florist.

"Lot of water damage in the back and smoke in the front. So hopefully -- thank God nobody got hurt -- we'll be able to fix it," owner Adriane Dianis told CBS2.

Dianis was able to salvage flowers for the funeral of a friend's father.

"I'll have them delivered, and tomorrow's another day. We'll worry about tomorrow tomorrow," she said.

In the village, which was founded in 1796, history repeats. The very block of businesses burned to the ground about 40 years ago.

"This is the heart of our village. We're a great community with great businesses. We're going to all work together to get it operational as quick as possible," said Suffern Mayor Michael Curley.

Editor's note: This story first appeared on Jan. 12.

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