Community pitches in to help fire victims

Two local businesses and two local churches have stepped up to help those affected by Wednesday morning’s fire that destroyed a pair of downtown Seymour buildings.

Those buildings housed businesses and residences for two families.

Maria Isabel Ponce owned Isabel’s Estetica and Novedades Maria at 108 W. Second St. and lived upstairs with her husband, son and aunt.

Alan and Dana Killey owned Hair Force Beauty Academy and Second Street Styles at 110 W. Second St. and lived upstairs with their two children.

Ponce’s family attends St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Seymour. The church and its school are accepting donations in the form of gift cards or cash, which will be given to the family for their basic needs. Those will be accepted in the parish or school office at 325 S. Chestnut St. from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays.

“They have been a longtime supporter of the Hispanic events that have gone on here at St. Ambrose,” said Ron Luther, the church’s business manager. “When people go through events like this, it’s important that we all reach out and give back and help as we can.”

The Killeys are members of Reddington Christian Church. Monetary donations or gift cards for the family to buy personal items and clothing are being collected in the church office from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays or during worship services at 8 and 10:30 a.m. Sundays. The church is at 10516 U.S. 31 North in Reddington.

Some people brought clothing to the church Wednesday after seeing a post on Facebook, and the first two gift cards were donated by high school girls who received them for Christmas.

Beautiful Chaos at 125 W. Second St. is serving as a drop-off spot for donations of clothing and gift cards for the Killey and Ponce families. Those will be accepted from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Heather Grube, co-owner of Beautiful Chaos, said she was contacted about the store serving as a donation drop-off location, and she didn’t give it a second thought.

Seeing the fire across the street Wednesday, Grube felt called to do what she could to help.

“I think being a merchant down here, you hope the best for everybody that’s around you. That’s what brings more people downtown for everyone. I want everyone to be successful,” she said. “I feel like down here, we are a family. I think just as a community that we should always be looking for ways to ease others’ burdens and help people in their circumstances if we can.”

Grube said she arrived at her shop just before the fire was reported, which was 11:14 a.m. She saw firefighters and police officers arrive downtown and then saw smoke coming from the buildings.

Once she realized the severity of the situation, she welcomed the family that owns La Mexicana next to the Killeys’ building into her store. She also was among the 50 people who helped Larry McDonald move items out of his business, This Old Guitar Music Store, which is next to Ponce’s businesses.

“It was a very emotional day,” Grube said.

Peggy Davis, owner of N Stylz Hair Design a couple of blocks from the downtown at 321 E. Second St., also felt compelled to help those affected by the downtown fire.

For the licensed stylists and manicurists now without jobs, Davis is offering them booth space at no charge for a month. She has two extra stations for licensed stylists, an open station for a manicurist and an extra room for multi-services.

“Honestly, it was just a no-brainer for me,” Davis said. “I just want them to know that (her shop) is there for their use and to get them going again so they don’t lose their clients. I want to give them the ability to use the money to get started again.”

Davis also is accepting donations of items for the stylists to use, including shears, flatirons, blow dryers and hair products. Donations will be accepted for Hair Force Beauty Academy students, too.

After Davis posted what she was doing to help on Facebook, other stylists in the community reached out to her about donating items.

“It’s going to take a lot of money for them to even get set up to try to get working again,” she said of those affected by the fire.

Davis said she attended House of James, a former downtown beauty school, in 1990. At her own business, she has had a few Hair Force Beauty Academy students work there as stylists. She also recently donated a pedicure chair to the beauty school.

She said it was tough to hear the news of the fire.

“It’s just heartbreaking. I can’t imagine not having a place to go to work, much less a home,” Davis said. “When you hear of your fellow stylists and people in trouble … I just wanted to reach out and make sure they knew we could help.”

At a glance

Donations of money and gift cards are being accepted for the families affected by Wednesday’s fire in downtown Seymour.

The drop-off sites are:

Beautiful Chaos, 125 W. Second St., Seymour; 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; 317-407-3922

St. Ambrose Catholic Church or St. Ambrose Catholic School, 325 S. Chestnut St., Seymour; 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays; 812-522-5304 or 812-522-3522

Reddington Christian Church, 10516 N. U.S. 31, Reddington; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays or during worship services at 8 and 10:30 a.m. Sundays; 812-445-3451

Donations of clothing also are being accepted at Reddington Christian Church and Beautiful Chaos.

For the Killey family, items and sizes needed are women’s tops XL and pants 16-18; men’s tops 2XL and pants 42X30; man in his 20s tops XL and pants 36X32; and 20-year-old woman tops medium/large and pants 10.

For the Ponce family, items and sizes needed are women’s tops small, jeans 5 and shoes 8; men’s tops XL, jeans 36X34 and shoes 11; men’s tops large, jeans 34X32 and shoes 11; and women’s tops XL, jeans 16 and shoes 7½.

Donations of items for hair stylists to use, including shears, flatirons, blow dryers and hair products, are being accepted at N Stylz Hair Design, 321 E. Second St., Seymour.

Also, for the licensed stylists and manicurists without jobs after the fire, the shop is offering booth space at no charge for a month. Two spots are open for stylists, one is for a manicurist and one is for multi-services.

For information, contact Peggy Davis at 812-405-2410 or 812-216-1849.

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.