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Rancho Tehama loses market and gas station to fire

Rancho Tehama fire

An overnight fire in Rancho Tehama destroyed the town's market and gas station, leaving some residents without access to the resources they need to survive in the rural community.

"Started out looking like a little piece of wire, bright red like it was overheating," Rancho Tehama resident John Pfeiffer said, on Monday night, as he watched the electrical fire that burned the G & K Country Store and gas station.

"You've got propane tanks right near the front of the store, you got a big propane tank out in the area and it's also got a full service gas station. So this fire was really could have been a bad, bad, bad situation," Pfeiffer said.

Pfeiffer said he watched the fire burn for hours, before the fire department could put out the flames.

"Three and a half hours later there were still flames coming out of the roof," Pfeiffer said.

He also said since it was the only gas station for miles, with the largest selection of food in town, the loss of the store was going to impact the entire community, not to mention the owner's connection to the people in town.

"The owner of this store benefitted a lot of people that would come up short before the end of the month or before pay period. And he would give them allowances and it helped a lot of people, myself included. And that's now come to an end," Pfeiffer said.

He said a lot of people will probably have to rely on La Fortuna Market, down the road.

"It kind of sucks that he burned down, but it's going to help us out a little bit and hopefully we can help our customers the best we can do,"La Fortuna owner, Harry Garcia said.

Garcia said he's already seen an increase in sales.

"Oh yeah, I would say it's pretty slow for us in the morning, but today I've probably seen like, so far I've probably seen what would be for a regular day plus a little quite a few people," Garcia said.

But, he said it's going to be hard to meet the increased demand.

"Yeah we're going to have to keep more stuff in, now we're going to have a few more vendors come in with more during the week," Garcia said.

He added he's grateful for the business, but hopes the G & K Country Store is able to rebuild soon.

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