Organizations to help employees affected by Downtown Visalia fire

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Last Friday, Café 225 posted a message on their Facebook page, thanking their supporters for the good wishes and prayers and saying they would keep everyone posted on their future plans.

Two days earlier, a fire ripped through their building, causing extensive damage to the restaurant, as well as Mama K's Diner and Acapulco Jewelry.

Now, the sidewalk in front of the businesses is fenced off and so is the alley in the back.

On their Facebook page, Mama K's says they hope to eventually reopen, but acknowledged it could take some time.

Three other businesses had some water or smoke damage.

Downtown Visalians has set up a GoFundMe page and is planning a benefit day-both to help raise money for the affected employees.

They're also hoping to connect them with a new job, even if it's temporary.

"Everybody that was involved down here, employee-wise, probably has mortgage or rent, probably has a car payment, probably has kids, probably has medical bills, so forth and so on," Nelsen said. "That's the human factor, the stress and the emotion. So we felt as Downtown Visalians, we wanted to create an opportunity for the community to get involved and help find a solution for those people that were affected."

The stretch of Main Street has forever changed, and it's unclear what the future holds for it.

But for now, the focus is on helping those who once called it home, making sure they're comfortable in the New Year.

The Tulare County Workforce Investment Board will be holding an unemployment services workshop on Thursday for affected employees.

It will be held at 4025 West Noble in Visalia, and starts at 9 a.m.
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