MISSION VIEJO, Calif. (KABC) -- A community is coming together after Mission Viejo restaurant was destroyed by a fire as the owner fights her own battle with cancer.
Angelina Esqueda, the owner of Green Chile Cantina, says it broke her heart to lose her business to a fire this past Sunday.
"It's an emotional thing when you see something you worked so hard for," Esqueda said through tears. "And it's personal."
Esqueda met her husband there years ago as an employee when it was a tap house. After opening two other locations, the couple decided just this past August to circle back to where it all began.
The Green Chile Cantina was born, bringing the flavors of hatch chiles, sopapillas and all things New Mexico to the area. But days later, a cancer diagnosis left Esqueda battling T-cell lymphoma.
"It made everything much more difficult, you know, trying to get the restaurant open, getting all of my employees trained on what we do because then I had to start biopsies and ultrasounds and to find out what type of lymphoma so that I could start treatment," Esqueda said.
This past Sunday, tragedy struck again when the family business was destroyed.
Fire investigators told Esqueda the cause is likely electrical, but the investigation is ongoing.
Esqueda is now leaning heavily on her family and faith, but is asking for customers at their remaining restaurant in La Habra and prayers.
"It's just God, you know, He has to have a reason," Esqueda said, adding, "there's no reason for me to go through all this unless He has a plan."
A fundraiser for Angelina and her family is scheduled for 1-4 p.m. Saturday outside the Mission Viejo location at 26341 Via Linda.