Community rallies around owners of Fresno brewery hit by arson attack

'We spent the whole night looking through ashes and woke up the next morning... hoping it was a nightmare.'
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Brewery District in Fresno is coming together after a fire caused major damages to 411 Broadway Ales and Spirits.

The Fresno Fire department responded quickly to heavy flames burning at the front of the brewery this past Wednesday.

When the owners, Joseph and Joshua Soleno, got the news, it was a hard reality to face after setting big goals for 2022.

"We had just bought new equipment, we spent thousands on new ingredients for 2 months. All of that is gone," said Joseph.

Added Joshua:
"We spent the whole night looking through ashes and woke up the next morning after an hour of sleep hoping it was a nightmare."

411 opened its doors in 2017.

It is the only local incubator brewery where other brewers get to work on their craft, including Incinerate Brewery and Grayview Artisans.

The fire impacted all of them, destroying several refrigerators and storage containers inside. The initial cause was thought to be an electrical issue.

On Thursday evening, a neighboring business shared surveillance video where they saw what really happened.

The video shows a person setting the place on fire.

It was a feeling like no other for the Soleno brothers.

"The first couple of hours it was emotional, it seemed like our dreams were destroyed but then it shifted because we felt like we were cared for in our time of need," said Joshua.

They received countless calls, texts, emails, and social media comments with support from the community.

Mike Sumaya, the owner of Incinerate, had just moved out of the building to his own brewery in Clovis but says this place is where he got his start.

It's a journey he will always be thankful for.

Now, he is helping the brothers pick up the pieces.

"They are the best people in the world and for this to happen to them, it's just not right," said Sumaya.

Jason Hatwig, co-owner of Grayview, lost everything in the building as well and says now it's time to rebuild.

"We saved our emotions and it's time get this stuff started and get to the next page," he said.

The local brewery district is providing support in a number of ways, and a GoFundMe page has been created.

While this isn't the way they planned to kick off the new year, the community's support and the willingness to rebuild just means the next few months will be different but they plan to become stronger than before.

And to the person who did this...

"We hold no hate towards you, we just wish you the best and hope you find the help that you need," said Joshua.

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