Instead, their boss saved everyone's jobs.
"We said, 'We're gonna get through this everybody. We've been through some tough things before. We're gonna get through this together,'" owner Noah Katz explained.
Virginia and Freddy Castano were given jobs at the Foodtown in Grand Concourse until the store in Norwood re-opens.
"Immediately after it happened, they sent me to this new supermarket, and I didn't even lose one day of work," Castano said.
"I could still work, pay my bills and keep my head up high because I know they're gonna rebuild," Lopez said.
The fire was also devastating to customers of this supermarket. It was the only one in the neighborhood. It was another reason why the owner promised to re-build.
"We provide groceries. We provide jobs. We provide a service to the community, so we don't really know what else to do. That's what we do," Katz said.
He says all it took was some creative scheduling and employees working together. Some of them trimmed their overtime a bit so no jobs were lost. The payoff? Certainly, loyalty to the boss.
"He is a trooper. You know, you don't see that too often," Lopez said.
But, perhaps more importantly, loyalty to the job and that's always good for business.
"You take care of people and that's part of what makes the whole thing work," Katz said.