Fire and smoke damaged a longtime butcher shop in Santa Barbara on Friday night.
La Bodeguita Carniceria owner Javier Lomeli said he thought there was a break in when the alarm company called, but it turned out to be firefighters breaking down the door and breaking through the roof to put an electrical fire out. Fire crews stopped the flames from spreading, but smoke damage is extensive.
Customers hoping to pick up dinner items were saddened to see it closed on Monday. The shop on the 500 block of Haley Street serves locals, restaurants and the Our Lady of Guadalupe Mercado during Fiesta.
Lomeli said he came to Santa Barbara from Guadalajara as a teen and learned his trade. He settled down and became a citizen and worked hard operating his own business to provide for his family. He said he regrets not having fire insurance.
Although he lost almost everything in the shop when the smoke cleared, he realized how many people in the community wanted to help him restore his 40-year-old business.
His son set up a GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/CarniceriaLabodeguita. The goal is to raise $50,000.
Lomeli’s landlords have already hired someone to repair the building, but they said it could take a couple of months to open La Bodeguita’s doors.