Sarah Lyama was in tears as she surveyed the blown out windows and fire damage to her shop, Femaz Stitches.
Lyama had just moved into the Whalley location on King George Blvd. three months ago, to have more space. She did not have insurance.
"I was just trying to do things gradually, okay next month I'll do insurance," said Lyama.
"I was borrowing money from different sources, believing things would be okay, one day. Only for this to happen."
Fire treated as suspicious
The two-alarm fire began at about 10:30 p.m. PT Sunday, in a nearby Mexican restaurant, La Conquistadora, according to the Surrey fire department.
Officials are still investigating the cause, and treating it as suspicious until they know otherwise.
The Mexican restaurant was also damaged in the fire, as were two downstairs units rented by a church and non-profit organization helping African immigrants.
Patience Nyoni from the Afro-Canadian Positive Network of B.C. said she was already considering leaving the neighbourhood before the fire, but rent is cheap.
"Right now it's so scary, when I look at this building right now ... Whalley is not a safe place anyway to work," said Nyoni.