BROCKTON (CBS) – A huge fire destroyed a convenience store in Brockton early Thursday morning, sending a burning sign crashing to the pavement.

Flames broke out at Rice’s Market on North Main Street around 4:30 a.m. and quickly engulfed most of the building.

About an hour and a half later, as firefighters continued to douse the flames from the outside, the sign over the front of the building came crashing down in front of them.

“We were able to get in pretty quick, but the fire was all above our heads. A lot of these older buildings have multiple ceilings, tin ceilings, which are very difficult to go through,” said Brockton Deputy Fire Chief Brian Nardelli. “[The firefighters] were pulling like crazy to get up in there. They were able to hit some fire, but it was already taken off.”

Firefighters said no one was in the building when the fire started as the owner, Orlando Andrade, had locked up for the night.

The sign at Rice’s Market crashed to the ground during the fire Thursday. (WBZ-TV)

They initially had a difficult time entering the store because of security bars on the windows. The building’s interior eventually collapsed on itself.

“This is my livelihood,” Andrade said. “I do catering out of there. I have a food kitchen. I sell beer and wine. It’s a full grocery store.”

Andrade says the store has been hit by a car and robbed. But he says this is the first time there has been a fire.

“I have a full kitchen in the back. We do prep every day. Everything was shut off,” Andrade said. “We don’t cook after 12 o’clock. I’m not sure what caused the fire.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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