Business owner counting blessings after 2 stores burn down next door

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – An early morning fire in Fresno completely destroyed two businesses and damaged another.

The devastation left behind by the fire was still visible Friday afternoon.

The businesses were a complete loss, everything inside was charred and turned to ash.

A car repair shop next door was almost untouched by the fire, the owner of the shop knows how lucky his shop is.

“The devastation, you know it’s just horrible man,” said Benjamin, the car repair shop owner who did not want to appear on camera.

The morning sun Friday revealed the damage done by a commercial fire that broke out around 4:00 a.m., the fire sent flames dozens of feet into the air through the roof of an antique refurbishing store.

“I feel bad for my neighbors, but we, we got lucky today,” said Benjamin. “Yeah, no. We lucked out, we really lucked out man, cause if you saw how high the flames were, it’s amazing we’re still standing. It’s just a miracle, I can’t believe it, I really can’t.”

He credits the firefighters and first responders for saving his business, even if they couldn’t save his neighbor’s.

“Firefighters started showing up, man they got on it,” he said, “There was only a piece of our wall missing. I was like thank you, thank you.”

“When we first saw it and it was on fire, we thought it was all going to go,” Benjamin recollected.

Family members came to look at the damage, they tell us their family is hurting from this loss.

A shop that kept its doors open for more than 20 years, turned to ashes.

“I told him I have a video of it, and he said ‘I don’t want to see it, don’t show me.’ He just kind of stepped away like. I mean it’s hard, they lost everything, they lost it all.”

Family members told me there were painting and cleaning chemicals inside the store that were flammable.

Fire officials say that could’ve contributed to the fire, but as for what sparked it, they say that is still under investigation.

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