Fire ravages Waco’s Tru Jamaica; rebuilding expected to cost $200K

Go Fund Me account set up to help local restaurateurs rebuild
Published: Dec. 12, 2022 at 7:00 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - In the blink of an eye, Aniceto Charles Jr.’s dreams went up in flames.

An outlet fire is reportedly to blame for the blaze that ravaged Charles’ restaurant, Tru Jamaica.

He has owned Tru Jamaica with his mother, Viva Charles, for almost three years.

Mrs. Charles said business was booming because it was one of the few Jamaican restaurants in the area.

 Aniceto and Viva Charles
Aniceto and Viva Charles

“Coming to Waco, that was a part of the whole dream. We said ‘Wow, we can do the same thing in Waco,’” said Charles about the decision to open a Jamaican restaurant in Central Texas.

The central Texas business owner said his favorite part about the job is getting to know his customers and form a connection. “They say, ‘Oh, we love this food.’ We create this relationship with the person.”

Tru Jamaica Restaurant in Waco
Tru Jamaica Restaurant in Waco (KWTX)

Charles and his mother did not expect their dream to burn down. “I couldn’t believe it. I had to take a seat and had to really take it in. It’s like you grow a plant and the plant grows and starts blossoming. I did all this work with my hands,” said Charles.

The melted and torched items inside their restaurant only bring back painful memories of the fire.

“We have to replace all the rafters. We have to change the roof. We have to get new furniture, HVAC equipment, full kitchen. There’s so many things,” said Charles.

It’s going to cost roughly $200,000 to rebuild. Thankfully, no one was at the restaurant when the blaze erupted.

Charles said his pain would be even worse if someone had gotten hurt. “It’s a blessing. If anyone of our staff had gotten injured. I don’t know how I would feel. I don’t want to think about it, but it would be a lot,” he said.

Even though the fire set the Charles’ back, they are now solely focused on rebuilding and moving forward

“Everyone has drawn in and was willing to help because of this. Neighbors, fellow restaurants have reached out and offered us their support. So, I’m just thankful, and I’m going to stay thankful,” said Charles.

“We want to open up, we want to continue. So, we’re going to fight the good fight and get it going. Right now, we’re just trying to gather our thoughts,” said Charles.

You can help the small business owners rebuild through this GoFundMe link.