FOX 32 NEWS - Flames and smoke poured out of the VIP Occasions dress shop building Thursday, filling the air and leaving an untold number of brides feeling empty and even panicky with weddings just days ahead.
“That's awful, actually it was a lady who I was talking to outside, she said someone's wedding is supposed to be Friday and their things were up in there so it is kind of tragic but like I said thank God nobody lost their life,” said Latoya Garrett, General Manager of the Arby’s restaurant right across the street.
The fire started around 1:30 PM, shortly after the store had closed early for the day and after the only customer with an appointment Thursday morning had come in and picked up her wedding dress.
A fire company returning to the nearby station noticed the smoke and crews responded immediately. But the fire spread so quickly that there was nothing that could be done to save the building or all the dresses inside.
“The Building and contents are pretty much a complete loss,” said Elmhurst Fire Chief Tom Freeman.
“The cause is unknown, we have the arson task force on scene here, with arson dogs to help us determine the cause,” said Elmhurst Deputy Fire Chief William Anaszewicz, who added that the arson K-9 use was a standard procedure.
The two sisters who have owned VIP Occasions for the past 26 years met with fire investigators, but were too distraught to talk to reporters.
On their Facebook page, the sisters promised to help all their customers who lost dresses saying no one will be left behind.
Some previous customers who were headed to dinner nearby stopped to see the extent of the damage and were at a loss as they thought of all the brides now left in a desperate situation.
“The gals who are getting married in the next few weeks, they're probably going to be at a loss for getting a dress, hopefully another bridal salon will step in and help them,” said Cindy Phelps a former customer.