The fire broke out in one of the stores on West Merrick Road in Valley Stream just before 11 p.m. Wednesday.
The flames spread through as many as nine businesses as hundreds of firefighters from neighboring towns responded. In addition to the Valley Stream Fire Department, firefighters came from Lynbrook, Rockville Centre, Elmont, Malvern, Lakeview, Inwood and Woodmere.
It took at least two hours for firefighters to get the blaze under control.
At least one firefighter was being treated at the scene, but not serious injuries were reported.
The cause of the fire, which is believed to have started at Merrick Dry Cleaners, is under investigation.
Several of the businesses were extensively damaged by the fire, and other businesses by substantial smoke and water damage as a result of the fire. Dale Drug Store, which has been in the area for 55 years, was completely destroyed.
"You know, it's sad, because my boss puts his life into this pharmacy, and it's gone," manager Lisa Manzolill said tearfully. "I put my life into this pharmacy. And it's gone. But life goes on, and we're already looking into another place to relocate. And we just gotta keep trucking."
The Arson Bomb Squad and the Nassau County Fire Marshal were present at the scene and are investigating.
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