Tallahassee Owner Gets Help After Fire Destroys Business

Owner Fights to Rebuild His Tallahassee Business Destroyed by Fire
Posted at 5:10 PM, Jan 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-13 15:33:27-05

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- A Tallahassee entrepreneur lost his entire business in a fire early Thursday morning, but he's staying positive as he figures out how to rebuild.

The fire tore through a commercial building on West Tharpe Street, destroying several local businesses.

"When you walk in that morning, and you saw all that stuff is just gone -- it just takes the life out of you."

It's a life Dennis Howard built from the ground up 15 years ago.

He goes by "Debo," and his business "Debo Sounds" stood here for a decade.

"I sought out a building and fell in love with this location over here," he said.

Debo woke up Thursday to a flood of missed calls. Tears fell as he took photos from inside the charred building.

"A lot of stuff you just didn't want to let go," he said. "And now, you walk into smoke, fire, water -- it's just gone one morning."

Debo said he lost everything in the fire -- all of his equipment, including a speaker box which he just got, but other business owners have reached out to help him rebuild.

Traverse Lippett owns Whooze Next Barber & Beauty across the street. He said Debo is a good friend and offered him his parking lot to do business.

"The first thing he asked me, 'How much you charging?'" said Lippett. "I said, 'Are you kidding me? I ain't charging you nothing, brother. Just come on.'"

Mike Grace calls Debo a "brother," too. The disabled veteran owns Elite Window Tinting behind Debo Sounds.

"In the midst of this fire, he sent me two cars to tint," Grace said. "I mean, he should be worrying about his own business -- and he's sending me work."

Debo said despite the damage, his faith in God has kept him strong.

"He done brought me so far. He's not going to leave me now," he said. "I mean, you could tell by the support that I have out there."

Debo estimated he lost more than $100,000 worth of equipment. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.