ST. THOMAS — A late-night fire Thursday ravaged parts of the historic Royal Dane Mall in downtown Charlotte Amalie, destroying such staples as Gladys’ Café, and leaving a number of residents homeless.

The fire, which was reported around 10:45 p.m., and had firefighters on scene for roughly 12 hours, was described by V.I. Fire Service Director Daryl George as “scary as hell,” one that required multiple crews to converge into a tight, confined space and prevent from spreading to adjacent structures.

— Contact A.J. Rao at 340-714-9104 or email ajrao@dailynews.vi.