Fire set by thief severely damages Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Visalia building

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The executive director of the Hispanic Chamber said someone broke into their Visalia building, stole valuable items, and set multiple fires. (KFSN)

The executive director of the Hispanic Chamber said someone broke into their Visalia building, stole valuable items, and set multiple fires on Sunday.

Members of the Tulare Kings Hispanic Chamber of Commerce met Tuesday afternoon to discuss upcoming Cinco de Mayo festivities. Usually, the gathering would happen at the chamber building on Main Street, but a fire ripped through it Sunday afternoon.

The building is owned by Dr. Robert Aguilar.

Fire officials estimate the damage at $90,000. Executive director Armondo Apodaca has been told everything inside is a complete loss. No amount of cleaning will help. Luckily, no one was inside.

"It's scary to think that if someone was there, what could have happened. It was pretty brazen," said Apodaca.

But Apodaca believes whoever did it, planned it.

Neighboring businesses and the school across the street were closed, and Apodaca believes the suspect broke in through this door when no one was looking.

"It wasn't just one fire, he set them in several different places so that the entire inside of it is damaged."

Books are morphed, files and computers damaged, and now there are holes in the ceiling. Apodaca said the suspect also stole a new 40-inch TV, a couple of tablets, a smartphone, and $30 before taking off.

"The main thing is, we're not able to service our members as well as we could if we had a bricks and mortar place."

So, for now, they'll meet in various public places and try their best to plan events and take care of member business. Hoping the thief is caught and that eventually, they can move back in on Main Street.

Visalia police and fire are investigating this burglary and arson. Anyone with information is asked to call them.

The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has set up a GoFundMe page. If you would like to contribute click here.
Related Topics:
newsfirearsontheftbreak-invisaliatulare countyVisalia
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