Fire ruins Fresno restaurant, Christmas plans

Thursday, December 1, 2022
Fire ruins Fresno restaurant, Christmas plans
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A Fresno Fire investigator is working to determine what sparked an early morning fire at Zamora's Carnitas.

FRESNO, Calif, (KFSN) -- A small family business went up in smoke and took some Christmas plans with it.

Zamora Carnitas at Fresno and Lewis in central Fresno caught fire a little after 2 a.m. Tuesday.

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The restaurant had just gotten a new health inspection and a permit for the next year of operation, but an overnight fire burned all thoughts about the future.

Firefighters spent hours making sure the flames at Zamora Carnitas couldn't rise up again after spreading quickly through the kitchen early Tuesday.

"There was enough fire, enough heat, to punch through the ceiling toward the north side of this business," said Fresno Fire Department battalion chief Tony Escobedo.

A slightly charred menu rested on the kitchen counter while everything around it turned to a smoky sludge.

Sunlight shone through the wrecked roof of the restaurant to reveal equipment ruined by fire or by the effort to put it out.

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For owner Humberto Gomez, this place has been a second home for 16 years.

"I'm here every day at 5 in the morning, on the weekends 2 in the morning, to start cooking," Gomez said.

Gomez has two kids in college and he's not sure what they'll see when they come home for the holidays.

"It's coming, Christmas, and I don't know," he said. "A lot of families work here."

Gomez says he has insurance and hopes it'll get the business back up and running eventually, but it'll be months before he can reopen.

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So for now, he's doing a lot of reflecting.

"Sixteen years of people coming and 'Hey Beto,'" he recalled. "A lot of time here and good people, good customers."

Firefighters estimate the total damage at somewhere around $90,000.

They're still investigating how the fire started.

The family created a GoFundMe page "to assist with the quicker reconstruction of our business and make up for the loss in wages that our employees are facing."