A fire gutted an oil-field services business at 4:00am Thursday morning, August 29th. Business owner Randy Balderas had just come home from a trip to Vegas when he heard that his shop had burned.
Robert Romo, Charlotte Fire Chief, said that Jourdanton, Pleasanton, and Charlotte Fire Departments arrived around 4:30 a.m. to the blaze. Two company trucks and a metal building were engulfed in flames.
Fire investigators found evidence that there had been a break in before the fire started. Balderas said that two AR-15 rifles and two computers were missing from the ruins. He believes a burglar was trying to burn evidence of his break in. “Four things were stolen, the shop is on fire, someone is trying to cover their tracks.”
Balderas’ business had expanded greatly since the Oil boom arrived in Charlotte three years ago. His company, Balderas Services, began as a 2 man crew working mostly with farmers and ranchers. Word-of-mouth brought his company to the attention of oil companies in the area. Within two years, Mr. Balderas employed 70 workers and built several buildings, including the one that burned Thursday morning. He now employs around 40 workers in delivering equipment, preparing sites and other oil-field related services.
Among the lost possessions are a boat, his kid’s ATVs, 5 office desks and great many tools. His mechanic Mark Beasley lost his only vehicle in the fire; the general liability insurance policy on the truck will not cover the fire, according to Balderas. Balderas donated $3000 dollars to him to buy new tools and hopes his insurance over the business will cover Mr. Beasley’s loss.
“I still need a mechanic.” Balderas said of Mark. “I’m not gonna leave him out in the cold.”
“The fire has really really hampered us, but we’re still working.” says Balderas. Employees use mobile phones to conduct business, adapting to the loss of their office equipment.
His house also burned 5 years ago. He believes a short out in an air conditioner caused the fire.
When asked if discouraged by the destruction of his property, Balderas said “I took Hermano Florez’ testimonial to the heart when he said ‘If you can survive losing two children, you can survive anything.’”