‘We didn’t know what to think’: Huntsville businesses, home destroyed in fire

WAFF 48's Romario Gardner reporting
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 12:20 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2023 at 6:05 AM CST

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A Huntsville family is working to pick up the pieces after losing both their family businesses and home.

Huntsville Fire and Rescue responded to a fire at Sabor Boricua on Saturday morning.

Arelis Rodriguez says her mother is still in shock after the businesses and home she’s had for 15 years are now all gone.

“We didn’t know what to think, and then we’re just looking at the building in disbelief and then just thinking that like how everything was out of our control at this point,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez says her mother lived above the building alongside three of her employees. The restaurant was a place where members of the community could go to get authentic Puerto Rican cuisine.

Mi Encanto, a beauty salon her mother also owned, was connected to Sabor Boricua. The mother opened the shop in 2009, and Sabor Boricua in 2019. Both businesses lie in rubble after firefighters spent nearly seven hours working to put out the flames.

Rodriguez said the businesses were more than a business to the community, it was a place for people to go if they wanted to feel welcomed.

“They would say every time I come in here it just feels like a home, like a place that you know makes you feel warm inside, said Rodriguez.

Karam Lamas, a worker at Guanajuato Mexican grocery store two doors down from Sabor Boricua, said she will be keeping the family and the workers in her heart.

“That’s my people, I’m Puerto Rican and I feel very bad about that, it’s very sad,” said Lamas.

Rodriguez said the whole family is doing their best at this time to stay positive.

“I think me and everyone around my mom are just trying to encourage her that something better will come and that you know we can always construct everything again,” said Rodriguez.

Huntsville firefighters are still investigating what caused this fire.

The family has started a Gofundme account to help with the mother and the employees. No one was injured, but all personal belongings were destroyed.

If you would like to donate click here.

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