Critter Fritters Manager Tony Jerez was tuning into the TV news last Friday at 11 p.m. when the fire alarm in his Tenderloin apartment building went off, but he didn’t realize the situation was serious until he heard neighbors yelling.
“It’s a real fire,” they called, and the Balboa Hotel’s 25 residents and their pets began pouring into the hallways and down the stairs to the outside.
Firefighters quickly put out the fire, which may have started from a cigarette tossed into the trash-filled light well, but they burst a pipe in doing so, causing extensive damage in addition to the usual water and fire damage.
“I’m in a daze,” said Tony, who has lived at the Balboa for 16 years. “I can’t sleep. I don’t know where I’m going to go.”
The historic brick building is now padlocked, and no one has been able to return to gather their possessions, which are vulnerable to theft. What’s more, no one knows yet if the building will be condemned, fixed up, or what any timelines might be, Tony said as he worked the till at Critter Fritters on Tuesday.
If you want to help Tony, his Critter Fritters colleague Julia Montgomery has set up a GoFundMe for him, which can be found here: https://gofund.me/941c7a78