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East Valley Focus

PACOIMA : Market Still Scarred a Year After Blaze

April 24, 1993|CARMEN VALENCIA

The orange-and-beige tile at the Arco mini-mart on Van Nuys Boulevard in Pacoima still bears the traces of the fire that burned a corner of the store early in the second day of last year's riots.

The next day, owner Sion Sassones moved aside the merchandise, covered in broken glass and soot, and carried on selling gasoline to motorists. He could not sell food products, such as hot dogs and soft drinks, because ash had settled like a blanket on every food dispenser and every surface in the store.

Sassones has paid nearly $50,000 out of pocket to replace the air conditioner, blackened ceiling and coolers damaged by the fire. A year later, he is still fighting with his insurance company to be reimbursed.

"They say, 'We're going to pay,' but they never pay," Sassones said. "We had to insure with somebody else this year."

His contingency plans for any future civil unrest include boarding up the large windowpanes that form the market's front wall. "I hope it will not happen anymore," he said.

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