Denison businesses lending hand towards Main St. fire victims

DENISON, Tex. (KXII) - The community is rallying behind first responders and everyone affected by Wednesday's fire.

Several local businesses and groups are jumping into action just two days after it happened.

A gate separates the 300 block from the rest of Main Street, but downtown is far from divided.

A local bank held a cookout Friday afternoon to raise money for business owners and families who lost everything, and there's several others offering support.

"It's hard to believe. It really is," said Wendy Acosta, who lost her business in the fire.

Acosta owns what used to be Desk and Easel, next door to where the fire started.

She got back in town Thursday night and just saw the ruins for the first time.

"Then it just started to unfold in the worst way possible," Acosta said.

She plans to eventually rebuild, and Friday the community rallied to rebuild hope.

"We saw the opportunity and the need and we immediately started looking for ways that we could immediately raise some funds," said Jessica Duce with First United Bank.

Duce said proceeds from their fundraisers will go directly to those affected by the Denison Main Street fire.

"It really just speaks volumes about the people of Denison and how much they love their community, how much they want it to return to normal," said Denison City Manager Jud Rex.

Community- a golden thread since the moment the flames sparked.

On Wednesday fire departments from miles around worked together to battle the blaze.

Howe firemen stayed on scene for 25 hours , Pottsboro fire sent their only crew that day to help and several others came from both sides of the Red River.

"It meant everything to have that many brothers there just helping us out to try to, a lot of picking everybody up," said Denison Fire Capt. Zakk Rudolf.

"And that's what we do. That's what firefighters do. It's a brotherhood, a sisterhood," said Pottsboro Fire Chief Donnie Glenn.

"We'd return the favor in a heartbeat," said Denison Fire Capt. Billy Mullens.

No one was hurt, but there is still loss.

City officials said three families are without a home and two buildings are destroyed.

Acosta is an artist, all of her artwork is in the building.

Now, she doesn't even have a paintbrush, but she said it's seeing people unite that inspires her.

"We haven't lost that. We've lost our building, but we haven't lost the community and that is the most important thing," Acosta said.

Sparrows Gallery already had an event planned for Saturday night at 7 p.m. with live music, refreshments and a raffle for a piece of art by their featured artist from Sweden Frank Forsman.

All proceeds from that raffle will benefit victims of the downtown Denison fire.

In addition, part of their proceeds from all art sales will go towards fire victims.

A local restaurant and coffee shop are both planning fundraisers.

Plus, First United Bank has an account called "Denison Forward," where anyone can donate at any of their locations.