Flames could be seen down the street as they shot out of a strip mall at 65th Avenue and Glendale early Saturday morning.
It took more than 60 firefighters an hour to get the fire under control.
Isreal Martinez watched from nearby.
"There were a lot of flames, 15, 20 feet above the building; they just kept shooting up," said Martinez.
On the ground, firefighters battled back smoke billowing from the businesses.
Firefighters say they first saw light smoke coming from the back of the businesses when they got on scene.
But, when they went inside to fight the smoke and flames, they realized the fire was in the attic and had already extended to several businesses.
"Every time you saw the flames shoot up, you could tell it was moving further and further down," said Martinez.
In all...investigators say 14 businesses were damaged, at least 3 were destroyed and seven others had heavy damage.
Firefighters left around 4:30 a.m., after the burned businesses were secured.
Saturday afternoon, neighboring business owners surveyed the rubble in disbelief.
"It's sad, obviously being around the holiday time, hopefully these guys will get some blessings [and] handouts from some people get back on their feet, get their shops open," said Martinez.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.