HILLSBORO, Ore. (KOIN) — Lucia Nguyen achieved a big goal at the age of 24 — she became a business ownder. About 5 months ago she opened the Lucia Isabel Collection in downtown Hillsboro.
Anyone who walked or drove along Main Street would have glimpsed the array of wedding gowns and other dresses fit for a fairytale — until last weekend, when a 4-alarm blaze destroyed her business.
“Im trying to be strong and push forward and look at the bright side and believe that there’s a reason for everything,” she told KOIN 6 News.
“It did take a lot of years to save up for us to be able to open our doors,” Nguyen said. “For us to be able to open up our doors, we really, you know, took on two full time jobs, my husband and I, and it was a whole family collaboration to be able to get this business up and running. So it wasn’t just the efforts of my own. It was also the effort of my mom, my brother, my sister. So everybody contributed to make this dream of mine happen.”
Hillsboro firefighters are still on the scene nearly 3 days after the fire erupted in the early hours of Sunday. Debris continues to smolder. Fire officials said they will check the situation on Wednesday to determine if crews still need to attend the site.
Gawkers are able to view what’s left of the Weil Arcade Building from behind a chain link fence. Among the ashes are satin, lace and beads from Lucia’s store.
“I even remember, you know, when I would be just on a regular day, people walking by and seeing our showroom and looking through the window display and pointing out like, ‘Oh, my goodness, I love this dress,'” Nguyen said.
She was on her way to church when she heard about the fire. She said she was in complete shock.
“I couldn’t believe that, you know, it was real. I felt like I was in a dream for a moment,” she said. “I remember, there was a pile of dresses, when I got there, the firefighters were taking those out before the fire would consume them. A lot of them, you know, sadly, weren’t salvageable because they’re torn, they’re wet, they smell like smoke.”
She said she asked the congregation for their prayers.
“I asked them, you know, to pray for me, because I wasn’t sure what to do. I was like, I don’t know what I need to do right now, so I need somebody to just pray over me.”
Nguyen said fully recovering what was lost might be a long and difficult road. But because of the support of caring and generous people she’s already on the path forward. She’s place a small order of dresses and said a Hillsboro city council member helped her set up a pop-up shot at 2nd and Main.
“Today we started setting up and the community has donated things from like a mannequin to mirrors to curtains and all that to just make it you know, a boutique style again So all that is the hands of the community coming together,” she said.
Her store is hosting a New Year’s event this Saturday afternoon, something that was planned before the fire.
Now she just hopes she will be able to pay forward all the generosity she’s seen in the last few days.
“I just want to thank so much, Hillsboro and beyond Hillsboro, because I know that it has reached far beyond what I could have ever expected. And yeah, it’s, it’s incredible,” she said. “Material things come and go but at least nobody was hurt, nobody got injured. So we give thanks for that.”