Investigators say the blaze broke out after 3:30 a.m. Tuesday in a delicatessen on the ground floor of the building, located in the 1200 block of Spruce Street.
Smoke quickly filled the floor above Jay's Deli, which houses apartments rented by a number students.
Firefighters arrived, evacuated the students and extinguished the blaze.
No injuries were reported.
The students were taken to another location. There was no immediate when they would be allowed back in their homes.