A beloved gourmet grocery store in downtown Vallejo was destroyed early Tuesday morning in an arson attack.
Just before 3:30 a.m., Vallejo firefighters and police responded to the scene of a two-alarm structure fire at Anchor Pantry located at 617 Marin Street. The Fire Department said they launched a quick offensive that contained the blaze to the front of the store.
Frank, one of the shop owners, was already at the scene with police trying to extinguish the flames when firefighters arrived. The security system surveillance cameras alerted his phone and showed someone trying to start a fire.
Still, heavy smoke and damage will require extensive cleanup and remodel of the business that’s just been open a little more than a year, according to VFD.
Anchor Pantry co-owner Jessica Brooks took to Facebook to share the tragic news with customers, saying:
Security footage helped police locate and identify the arson suspect a few blocks away from the shop where he was arrested.
VFD credited the owner’s quick actions in helping keep the fire to the storefront.
Condolences and offers to help quickly poured in from the community. Dina Vigil, one of the building owners, said:
“You have our word to get this building rebuilt ASAP. You are a beautiful addition to downtown and one of my favorite places to shop. Luckily as contractors ourselves, we have a long list of contractors to get this rebuilt quickly with hopes of you to return.”
Karen Finlay of Alibi Bookshop, located across the street from the Anchor Pantry, started a GoFundMe page to “help our friends at Anchor rebuild their shop and their dream.”
In the fundraiser description, Finlay said:
“[T]he store is a total loss — and it’s a huge loss for Vallejo. Since opening a little over a year ago, Jessica and Frank have been invaluable members of our downtown community, bringing good food and good will to our town. To lose them is unthinkable.”
More than $21,000 of the $50,000 had been raised within five hours.