Creek Fire: Cressman's owners plan to rebuild

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Ashes surround Cressman's General Store off Highway 168 near Shaver Lake, but the owners are looking forward to the future.

"We need to get the ball rolling and rebuild as fast as humanly possible to show it can be done and there's a reason to rebuild," said Ty Gillett, Cressman's general store owner

It's been two weeks since the fire destroyed the iconic store. Ty Gillett stood by trying to save his business.

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"We did everything we possibly could. We had several fire engines with us there when the fire got there and they got us all out of their safe," Ty said.

In addition to losing Cressman's, which the Gilletts had owned since August 2019, they also lost the place where they built memories.

"We lost our home. which we were talking about, you know, which would you try to save, the house or the store? There wasn't ever, 'Let's try to save one.' Ty was like, 'I am going to stay with the store because it has a better chance.' I never dreamed in a million years," Tara said.

Their family cabin in Huntington Lake was gone and other family members lost their homes.

They've seen an outpouring of support on Go Fund Me to help. After the devastation, fire crews put up an American flag at the burned down grounds.

"I handed the flag to the firefighter and just put it up there. It was great being able to do something to honor those guys that are out there risking their lives every single day," Ty said.

A sign of service and sacrifice they hope others will see.

"I think that it' s a symbol that we're a hope to not just our community, but this bigger community of everybody that's going there and there's a sign that is good to come in the world," Tara said.

The Gilletts say they plan to rebuild the store and explore ways to have more space.

Once orders are lifted, they will work with their insurance to survey the burned grounds.

While it may take time to rebuild, the owners say they're looking forward to the day they can open their doors and welcome the community to a new chapter in their lives.
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