Tupelo fire trucks were called out at 4:05 p.m. Saturday when smoke was reported billowing out of the Money Now Title Loans storefront on South Gloster Street.
A shocked Donna Grammar, bookkeeper for the Money Now and Crosstown Pawn amp& Jewelry businesses, said she rushed over as soon as she heard.
"I got a call from my niece who saw it on the news," she said. "I said, 'Shut up, you're kidding,' and then came straight here. I don't have a clue what could have happened."
Grammar said she immediately called the owner of the businesses, Dennis Goldman, who has owned the businesses since the mid 1990s. He leases the buildings.
The shopping center that caught fire included Money Now Title Loans, Crosstown Pawn and Jewelry, Money Now Check Advance and Lucky 7 Tattoos.
Firemen responded from stations one, two, three, four and five.
Tupelo Assistant Fire Chief Jimmy Avery said he wouldn't deem the building a total loss but it suffered significant damage and the contents of the three other businesses are heavily damaged.
He said Lucky 7 Tattoo sustained smoke damage but avoided most fire damage.
The fire was under control at by 5:05 p.m. Firefighters were still knocking down hot spots and venting smoke at 7:30 p.m.
Fire Investigator Jason Cross said the fire started in the northernmost end of the building and he will conduct an investigation into the fire this week.
A wall of smoke covered South Gloster Street until 4:45 p.m., making the road inaccessible to traffic.