East central Fresno furniture shop moves forward after massive fire

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- There's barely anything but rubble left at Jerry's Refinishing, a family-run furniture restoration shop in east central Fresno that had been in business for more than 20 years.

The business, located near Pine and Maple, went up in flames overnight on April 22.

"This is the ones that I've salvaged," said Victor Balderaz as he sorts through what's left of his tools.

Balderaz has worked at Jerry's Refinishing for 26 years.

"What made me start here was my biological father worked for Jerry when I was four years old," he shared.

Balderaz considers owner Jerry Carr, 83, a second father and a mentor.

"I love him," he said. "He helped me develop a lot of skills."

As Balderaz walks around what he calls "his life," Balderaz said he can't help but feel like a future burned down with the shop.

He is a single-father, and was working and saving his money for his two kids.

"There's going to be a long way before I can actually get them to the place where they need to be at because I lost everything," Balderaz said.

A little bit of hope rises from the ashes every day.

Balderaz and Carr plan to open a new shop. As of now, they're working out of their own garages.

"I seen him last night, and he said, 'I'm sorry, Vic.' So I said, 'Don't be sorry. It's okay. We're gonna be alright,'" shared Balderaz.

A piano is barely standing in the middle of the rubble -- charred from the flames.

Balderaz said the customers "wanted us to redo it in black. It never got finished."

He went on to say that about $100,000 worth of furniture burned down in the fire. However, Balderaz said customers have been understanding and offering their support.

Action News learned Fresno Fire Department ruled the fire at Jerry's Refinishing accidental. Investigators believe it was likely caused by chemical products used for wood finishing.

According to Balderaz, the business wasn't insured.

There is a GoFundMe to help Carr and Balderaz move forward from this tragedy.

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