The Monterey County Herald, Friday, January 5, 2007
Gonzales Fire Guts Salon, Displaces Businesses
Cause OF Pre-Dawn Blaze Undetermined
By Clarissa Aljentera
Note: This article details the process leading up to Disaster Kleepup Specialists performing a fire restoration and clean up of this salon and neighboring businesses.
The business Julie Rocha and Anna Trujillo spent the past five years building in Gonzales went up in flames early Thursday. But Rocha said the show of support she has received since word spread about her loss has been gratifying. Friends and clients have offered to help raise funds to get her hair salon back in business.
“It is amazing how caring they are,” Rocha said.
The early-morning fire swept through her business at 26 Fourth St., destroying the salon and damaging four neighboring businesses in the aging building. Firefighters estimated the damage at $2.5 million to $3 million. No injuries were reported, and the cause of the blaze is under investigation, firefighters said. The other damaged businesses were a mortgage company, another hair salon, a farm labor contractor and a Mexican restaurant.
Firefighters said a newspaper carrier was on his route when he noticed smoke from the rood of Anna’s Hair Studio about 3:40 a.m. Thursday and called 911. Rocha, president of the Gonzales Chamber of Commerce, co-owned Anna’s Hair Studio with Trujillo for the past five years. The partners renewed their five-year-lease in January 2006. “I’m still in shock,” Rocha said.
One of her business neighbors, Jessica Ramirez, said Thursday she considers herself “one of the fortunate ones.” Her mortgage business, which she stated six months ago, sustained minor damage. “It is mostly water and smoke damage,” Ramirez said while pulling files, computers and furniture from the office. The building’s owner, Ted Arnesen, said he cringed when he got the pre-dawn call from the Gonzales Fire Department.
“When you get calls that early you hope it is the wrong number,” Arnessen said. Arnesen bought the building in 1975 when he ran a pharmacy in the city. Five of the six tenants have been displaced by the fire. Arnesen said only El Rinconcito Restaurant is expected to open again soon because it sustained only minor damage. At the scene Thursday afternoon, Arnesen reminisced about the pharmacy he once owned and his renovations to the building.
“You feel rather sad about seeing everything destroyed in such a short time,” said Arnesen. “I’m concerned about my tenants and I’m so sorry it happened.”