Madera businesses reeling after losing thousands of dollars because of fire

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Three Madera business have lost thousands of dollars after a fire burned down their buildings. (KFSN)

Three Madera business have lost thousands of dollars after a fire burned down their buildings. Madera County fire investigators said the cause could be from fireworks lit in the area.

Pedro Barriga, the manager of All Weather AC and Plumbing, said his salvage yard is more than just a salvage yard. It was his childhood, and now his source of income.

"This is a place we grew up in and known since we were kids. We didn't just store our tools, we stored our personal things," said Barriga. "This is a trailer that I made when I was a kid. Tools, everything I used to make money and earn a living going is gone."

A fire two weeks ago near Madera left three businesses with nothing. No materials. No tools-- only charred belongings.

Barriga said, "Now we are struggling. Now we are barely making it by."

Chris Smith, the owner of Smith's Wrecking, said All Weather AC and Plumbing-- along with Electronics Recycling-- used the salvage yard as storage. Smith said shortly before seeing the flames, he heard what he believed to be the cause.

"I heard two fireworks, like mortars, like you hear in the stadium go off. Next thing you know the place is on fire."

Battalion Chief Matt Waston with Madera County Fire said after investigating, they are now able to rule out everything but a human cause and fireworks.

"There were fireworks seen in the area by several witnesses. The responding on scene engine could hear and see fireworks on the way to the call."

He also said fireworks is a growing problem.

"It seems to be getting worse every year. People seem to be using them in unsafe manners and unfortunately this is what happens."

Neither Barriga or Smith had any insurance on their items, so they said several thousands of dollars worth of tools, antiques, and memories are now gone.

"It took a lot of work and it was just a big waste of time," said Smith.

"What you see here is all I have. That's all I got," said Barriga.

All they said they can do now is wait until everything burns out, then start over.

Waston also said Cal Fire's investigator is currently trying to identify suspects. Anyone with information is asked to call Madera County Fire.
Related Topics:
businessfiremaderamadera countysmall businessMadera
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