‘Everything is gone': Lakeside family's bakery left in ashes

For the fourth time, Joseph and Gaby will have to rise, this time from the ashes

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For the fourth time, a family is rebuilding their Lakeside business from the ground up after having lost everything in a destructive fire.

"I feel horrible to know that everything was lost, even the knives. Everything is gone, everything. I feel worse for my husband because he was happy being here, making his bread," laments Gaby Riofrio, owner of Monserrate Pastries, who instead of looking for ingredients in her kitchen is trying to find something that has not been consumed by fire.

It was a five-year effort, and according to Gaby, the fire that gutted their business on July 23 was caused by a short circuit in a refrigerator.

"Supposedly, a connection began to generate a short, the fire grew towards the top, caught the roof and everything began to burn," said Jose Gómez.

According to the family, the fire happened while they were working delivering Colombian bread at an event in Balboa Park celebrating Colombia's Independence Day. José received the emergency call and rushed to the business without ever imagining what he would see.

"The only thing I saw was fire trucks, the door open, dark water everywhere and I said ‘I lost this battle.' I couldn't do anything," José recalled.

For the fourth time, Joseph and Gaby will have to rise, this time from the ashes.

"We have invested like $100,000," Gaby said, a new blow since Monserrate Pastries opened its doors in December 2019 and survived the pandemic and a recession.

The bakery was the only income for the couple. They have insurance, but only from a third party, so it does not cover their investment, sweat, or efforts.

"We must be brave and try to move forward," Gaby said. "We want to start working hard again even if it's from scratch because for my husband, it's the only thing he wants to do, start making his bread."

The Gómez Riofrio family opened a GoFundMe account where the community can donate and help them get their business back on track.

This story was originally reported by NBC 7's sister station, Telemundo 20. To read the article, click here.

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