Fire at Market in Modesto Causes $300,000 in Damage

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MODESTO — Two brothers invested everything they had into their store, and although the outside looks fine, everything inside, including 5,000 pinatas that were just ordered for Christmas — all of that was destroyed.

Mercado y Dulceria Mexico is a wonderland of a market filled with pinatas, party supplies and candy. Customers lovingly refer to the warehouse in Modesto as the Mexican Disneyland or “the Mexican Costco,” said Marketing Manager Marco Moreno.

They’re nicknames that make the people who work at the market smile. They’re cherishing the good memories right now, because Wednesday morning was the absolute worst.

“You know, like a nightmare,” Moreno said.

A fire started in the center of the store. What wasn’t burned was destroyed by water when the fire sprinklers went off. Moreno estimates the fire caused $300,000 in damages.

“We have an insurance policy that’s gonna get us back in hopefully no time, but the Christmas season is gone. Totally gone for us,” Moreno said.

The Christmas season is one of the most profitable times of the year for the market. They had just brought 5,000 new pinatas into the store. Many of them were special, seven-pointed Christmas star pinatas that were headed to local churches. They are unable to deliver to the small, local stores they supply and about 60 jobs at the market are impacted.

“We have a lot of moral support right now,” Moreno said.

Right now, the two brothers who own the store are waiting to hear back from the fire investigators — to learn if it was an electrical fire, an accident or if it was arson.

What we do know is what happened inside the store was caught on camera and the brothers are not accepting help.

They are busy trying to restock and reopen as soon as possible.

“What we would ask is that once once we are reopen, people come back to get pinatas. They’ll be ready to go,” Moreno said.

The brothers want to thank everyone in the community for supporting them through what is going to be a really rough holiday season.

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