Fire destroys popular Baytown grocery store

BAYTOWN, Texas – A beloved Baytown business was destroyed in a fire Wednesday morning.

“It’s a tragedy," said Cindy Martinez, the owner's daughter. "We’re so heartbroken that this has happened."

A staple in the city was gone.

“It’s not just a business, it’s our home," said Melissa Perez, who is also a daughter of the owner. "We grew up here. We helped our parents. We worked. We got up as early as he did.”

For the Perez family and so many others, C&D Grocery and Bakery was a second home.

“Being here every day, seven days a week, 12 to 15 hours, just here nonstop,” Martinez said.

Perez and Martinez said their father and mother opened the business in 1985.

“He’s thinking about his workers and thinking about the community," Martinez said. "That’s his life. The store was his life."

A fire started about 12:45 a.m. Wednesday at the building on Market and West Main.

Firefighters said that by the time they arrived, flames surrounded the back of the store, making it too dangerous for them to go inside.

The family vowed to rebuild for its loyal customers and the community.

“We’re going to get through this and we’re going to try to rebuild and see what happens and just take it day by day,” Martinez said.

“It’s consoling a bit to know that our family business was loved so much and it’s hurting a lot more people than just us,” Perez said. 

Investigators said based on what family members have said, they believe a gas leak started the fire.