Flames devour hundreds of bridal gowns


Flames from the fire that destroyed several Waldo businesses this morning also devoured hundreds of wedding dresses, including at least one that a bride expected to wear Saturday.

Most of the lost dresses were samples for brides to try on at the Gown Gallery and Gown Gallery Bridal Loft, which is one of Kansas City’s larger bridal stores.

But the losses affected as many as 15 brides getting married Saturday or the following Saturday, owner Sharon Miller said today.

From an office near the fire scene at 75th and Jefferson streets, Miller methodically called designers in New York to try to get replacement gowns sent overnight. She said the designers were being very helpful. One of the top bridal gown designers was sending out the exact dress needed Saturday. The staff will quickly alter the dress in time for the wedding.

“Brianna will walk down the aisle like nothing every happened,” Miller said.

Bridesmaid dresses that were lost were more difficult because there were more of those. The staff is working with designers to get those dresses for upcoming weddings replaced.

For brides not getting married this weekend or the next, their dresses and any bridesmaid dresses are in storage and unaffected by the fire, Miller said.

The Gown Gallery in December consolidated its two stores along 75th Street into one store at 504 W. 75th Street, which meant the entire inventory was affected. Sales associate Geneva Coleman, who arrived about 9:50 a.m., had no idea the business was already on fire. She said she opened the door and headed upstairs where she was greeted by thick black smoke swirling around just two or three feet from her.

“I immediately left the building,” Coleman said. “I ran down the stairs, got in the car, pulled it to the opposite side and called 911.”

She said the 911 dispatcher said they had already received one call.

Coleman, Miller and other staff were trying this morning to remember all the brides’ names since most of their records were lost in the fire.

“Everything is going to be OK,” Coleman said. “We are going to do what we can do to stay in business.”

Brides with questions can call the Gown Gallery at its regular number 816-361-8111, Miller said.

If you are a bride or bridesmaid or mother of a bride or bridesmaid affected by the Gown Gallery fire and want to tell your experience, please contact reporter DeAnn Smith at dsmith@kcstar.com or (816) 234-4412.

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