SALT LAKE CITY — A few days ago, 15-year-old Krystal Bustamante’s quinceanera dress was damaged in a fire.
But the celebration she has planned for months will still go forward thanks to a Utah dry cleaning and restoration company that stepped up to ensure the dress is ready for her big celebration.
Salt Lake City firefighters battled the massive blaze at Krystal's home near 500 North and Redwood Road on Sunday and managed to salvage her special dress.
After seeing the news report on KSL-TV, Jeff Kitches, general manager of Certified Restoration Dry Cleaning Network of northern Utah, said he felt he needed to step in and help Krystal get her dress ready for her big quinceanera celebration.
"It's neat that they saved it and we were able to clean it and give it back to her," Kitches said. "I just figured, 'Well, why not reach out to them and see if we can help?'"
He said he realized how important the coming-of-age celebration would be for Krystal and her family.
"I've attended a few quinceaneras myself, and I know how extravagant they are. They're like weddings," Kitches said. "I know how much this means to her."
On Wednesday, Kitches and partner Meredith Bubnis personally delivered Krystal's newly restored, bright turquoise quinceanera dress to the hotel where the Utah Red Cross put her and her family up after the fire.
The girl's eyes filled with tears as she saw the dress under the plastic. She hugged Kitches and Bubnis and thanked them. Krystal then handed an invitation to her quinceanera to Kitches and insisted he attend as a token of her gratitude.
"It makes me feel good to help you and your family however we can," Kitches said.
Krystal is planning to celebrate her quinceanera, a Hispanic tradition to celebrate a girl transitioning to womanhood, on Saturday — a year later than planned due to a death in the family.
"My grandmother died a month before I turned 14, and we were going to start planning," she said Wednesday. "We couldn't start planning because we had to save money for her burial."
Krystal said she’s been rehearsing all month for her party, practicing a surprise dance and the father-daughter dance.
She will be turning 16 when she celebrates her quinceanera, but after her house went up in flames this week, she didn't think she would be celebrating it at all.
The two-alarm fire, which was ruled accidental, started in a shed next to the four-plex, according to the Salt Lake City Fire Department. The blaze also caused a carport to collapse and destroyed two cars.
The Bustamantes' friends and neighbors have started a GoFundMe account under Rose Park Fire Might Ruin Quince to help pay for the damages to their home.