Flames ripped through a single-story strip mall in Chula Vista Tuesday night and flames were shooting through the roof by the time firefighters arrived.
The fire broke out at Santa's Toys at 657 Palomar Street. The business park is across the street from a HomeTown Buffet restaurant.
“My heart broke,” said Hai Trinh, whose family has run the business for more than 30 years. “It’s just painful looking it at it.”
The fire alarm was activated and a family member was notified. Trinh said customers called members of the family to let them know they could see the building was on fire.
"This is our livelihood. We’ve been here 30-something years," he said. “Now, it’s gone.”
"I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to say.”
A San Diego Gas and Electric crew was called to the scene to help asses the damage.
Trinh said while the family is not sure about next steps, they did have insurance. They may look for a temporary location while they regroup.