SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Customers and employees say they are devastated after Once Upon A Child on Howe Avenue burned down Wednesday evening.
Luckily everyone made it out safely. A Sacramento Metro firefighter suffered minor injuries on the roof, but is OK.
This fire was so intense, almost every store along the strip mall was shut down Thursday because of smoke damage.
“I had to see it to believe it because this is like my home away from home,” said Melissa Guerrero.
It was supposed to be her first day back on the job, after being away on vacation.
“I’m just heartbroken,” she said.
Guerrero says “Once Upon A Child” was a staple in the Arden Arcade area, and many families depended on it to clothe their children.
“We see people on a weekly basis, daily basis. They were always so thankful we were there,” Guerrero added.
“It was everything. I came here for my son every single time; it was like the best store ever,” said Lashunay Taylor, a loyal customer.
The Taylors are one of many shocked families who exclusively shopped at the store.
“It makes me tear up because it’s like a second home to me, I always came here every single weekend and now it’s gone.”
The fire started somewhere inside the clothing store, and within minutes, shot up through the roof. Sac Metro firefighters say the blaze quickly ran through the building. It was a close call for one fire captain on the roof who almost fell in, but was swiftly rescued by his comrades. Wade says the injured firefighter could have fallen 16 feet.
“They put their training and their own regard for their own safety aside as they responded to help one of their own.”
Scary, tense moments for customers and firefighters, but a loss for the Arden neighborhood and employees like Guerrero, who’s now out of a job.
“We depended on this store, I’m just so sad it’s no more.”
The injured firefighter is now home recovering. Crews say they don’t know exactly how or where the fire started. Sac Metro fire investigators now asking the public to call their arson tip line if they saw anything.