Donated wedding gowns pour in after multiple women lose dresses in Elmhurst fire

FOX 32 NEWS - One day after a devastating fire destroyed a landmark bridal shop in Elmhurst, the outpouring of help from the community and other dress stores is warming hearts and helping address some potential wedding woes for brides-to-be.

“These are actually the dresses that have been dropped off from as far as Joliet,” said David Gaffke, Owner of Complete Bridal in East Dundee, 30 miles from Elmhurst.

Gaffke said nearly two dozen women have either dropped off dresses or called about donating theirs.

“We had this little couple come in, they were about 65, their granddaughter got married, they wanted to bring her dress up here and show support,” Gaffke said.

A fire destroyed VIP Occasions Thursday afternoon. The Elmhurst landmark has been dressing women for weddings and proms for 26 years.

The charred remains were clearly visible Friday. The owners estimate the loss of the building and everything inside at $1.5 million dollars.

On Friday night, crews tore down the top portion of the walls that presented the greatest danger of collapse. It also will make the building safer for investigators to go inside if needed. They do believe the fire started on the left side up near the ceiling.

“The cause is undetermined at this point, because of the extent of the damage inside, it was hard for the investigators to get clear view of everything,” said Deputy Chief Bill Anaszewicz of the Elmhurst Fire Department

More than a dozen of VIP's clients have reached out to Complete Bridal for help and six have made appointments to look at dresses for upcoming weddings. And the best part, the dresses will be free.

“So all they have to do is pay for alterations. So just because these are donated does not mean that this is all they have to select from. They can look around the entire store,” Gaffke said, because his manufacturers have agreed to cover the cost.

For those brides worried about having their perfect dress, Gaffke promised this: “They'll have a beautiful dress, if we have anything to say for it, they'll have a beautiful dress.”

Investigators hope to be able to determine what caused the fire in the next few days.

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