From the ashes comes gratitude

Aaron Pico is an employee of the 330 Flume Salon

I’d like to express my gratitude to the various friends and Chicoans who pitched in and helped during the fire at 330 Flume St. on Saturday. I’m going to take the liberty to speak on behalf of the entire crew at our salon, along with Manny and Nelly Gonzalez from Paradise Lost Video and Eddy and Janet Hood, owners of the Loft Art School. The degrees of loss and damage from the fire varied from moderate to extensive, and it looks as if the building is beyond salvage.

Though this provided a fairly grim backdrop for the day, what it set into action was an inspiring display of community support. In no time whatsoever, there were dozens of people there to help, bringing boxes and whatever they could to help organize Paradise Lost’s inventory as it was hauled out of the building by the firefighters. Many were customer friends of Manny and Nelly’s; others were business people from the block.

John Jeffrey Carter, attorney from across the street, was right in there with boxes and cold drinks. Thanks, Jeff. Phil and Fran O’Reilly of P.F. Reilly—longtime clients—brought their truck down to transport salon furniture.

Last but certainly not least, I’d like to thank the men and women of the Chico Fire Department, who put themselves in harm’s way to help us out. They went above and beyond the call, not only in fighting the fire and protecting adjacent homes, but also in rescuing as much equipment and inventory as physically possible … up until the time they were called out by the chief. Some of these men and women were on the verge of exhaustion, yet they still continued to go back in to retrieve more of our belongings. They’ve got a damn tough job, and they shone while doing it. We should be proud and grateful to have them in this community. I certainly am.

Unfortunately, all did not fare so well. That’s why I would also like to encourage you to find a way to support Eddy and Janet Hood of The Loft Art School, the latest business to have found a home at 330 Flume. The damage to the art school was extreme and complete. These are good folks, so please, if you are interested in art lessons or know of anyone who is, pass the word along so we might help them recoup some of their loss, that they might continue to share their talents.

Finally, it’s widely believed that fire is the symbol for change. I suppose it’s a natural reminder to be mindful about what we do. We at 330 Flume were touched by that change. In contrast, there was a greater "constant" also present on July 5, 2003. It was the constant of compassion and caring that is still alive and well in the Chico community today. It makes me glad to live in this good place, and it rekindles my faith in humankind.