SHAVER LAKE, California (KGPE) — On Monday, Shaver Lake is back to business, with shops and restaurants open for the first time in three weeks.
The businesses closed because of the Creek Fire. People packed Hungry Hut during the lunch hour to show support for the Shaver Lake small business.
“There is a lot of pride,” said local Clark Thompson as he ate lunch with his wife Beth. “It is great to see. Great to see.”
Shaver Lake business owner Kanwar Chahal will never forget 2020. First, the pandemic hit in March. Then right before Labor Day, one of the busiest weekends for the Lake-town, another disaster hit.
“First when we had to evacuate,” said Shaver Lake Liquor and Beer Owner Kanwar Chahal. “We didn’t expect for it to be that bad. Basically, we expected to come back the next day and start our work as normal but nobody was expecting for it to be that long.”
The summer getaway a ghost town since Sept. 5.
Twenty-three days later, the traffic picked up as locals and firefighters supported local businesses.
Firefighters spent the lunch hour at Hungry Hut to say that you for complying with evacuations early on during the inferno.
“Being away from home is difficult,” said Fresno Fire Captain Emmanuel Chavez. “It is something that you want to go back to and for those that come back, we are here to help them out. Whether that be with the grieving process or direction of where to get that help.”
Chahal forever grateful to the first responders that protected the community day and night.
“They are heroes,” said Chahal. “Without them, we would have been wiped out. We thank you from deep down in our hearts.”
While many business owners are happy that their customers are back, some ask the visitors to come gradually because there are obstacles owners are still trying to overcome. Those obstacles include clearing out their spoiled goods and fire damage to the wastewater treatment plants.
“We don’t have a whole lot of water,” said Bob’s Market Manager Randi Terrio. “It is only running at half capacity. So with that, it isn’t at full function. So we want people to come and visit, we just want it gradually. One big spurt might be a little too much.”
Several businesses have not opened their doors yet.