Rising from the ashes; keeping a Fresno business alive

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE / KGPE) – A local business that went up in flames, may survive a real-life trial by fire.

The son of the owner, Victor Balderaz, says they’re trying to pick up the pieces after the fire destroyed their business on Pine St. and Maple Ave. in Fresno.

The sign pointing to Jerry’s Refinishing is still there on Pine St., but the shop is no longer standing.

Down the alleyway, the business is now rubble and ashes, as this father-son relationship duo tries to revive what’s left.

“It survived the fire,” said Balderaz, holding a wood sander still in its box.

The one thing he could salvage from the fire that flattened his business.

“It smells like smoke,” he said opening the box.

Victor Balderaz plans to start again, this time, from the garage of his apartment home.

“Yeah, this is the beginning. I got a note from my daughter that said, ‘never give up.’ She motivates me you know? ” said Balderaz.

A single dad, he wants to continue providing for his family, doing what he knows best.

His project after the fire? The vintage 1920s chair we interviewed him in.

“I had to get the ball up and rolling because my dad has carried a lot of weight all these years, and it’s time to start back up,” he said.

Losing the business and tools isn’t smothering the pair’s efforts to do what they love for those who need it.

“My deepest apologies to the people who had furniture in our shop. That’s what hurt the most, losing their furniture, ”said Balderaz through tears.

Fighting back those tears, he recalls a project he was working hard on for a customer, who will never get to see the final product.

“Countless amount of hours that I was working on it and I was almost done. I told the lady ‘come in and look at it!’ And she goes’ aw, I can’t make it this weekend. ”

Then the fire happened, turning plans for the future to ashes. For Balderaz, it’s a life lesson forged by flames.

“They trust me,” he said. “Then they say no rush. I mean I want to get it done as soon as I can because I want to get paid, but I also want to give them a good quality product, because that’s what I was taught, ”he said sitting in his new workshop.

“I woke up in the morning and I had to say to myself, my skills did not burn down,” said Balderaz.

Once the chair is finished, he finished, he plans to sell it on eBay.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Jerry’s Refinishing recover from the fire.

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