Community holds benefit for DC Theatricks owners 15 months after devastating fire

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The community gathered together at a fundraiser on Saturday for a costume company that lost everything last year following a fire.

In March 2023, the building that DC Theatricks operated in went up in flames, leading to the business losing all of its costumes, equipment and supplies.

That same fire also took the life of Buffalo firefighter Jason Arno.

Buffalo firefighter dies battling downtown blaze

The tragedy of losing one of Buffalo’s emergency personnel touched the entire community, but DC Theatricks’ owners said there were multiple tragedies that day.

The business occupied the first floor of the building located at 745 Main St. The extent of the damage left the company with no way to rebuild its collection.

“This benefit is not to minimize the loss of the firefighter who lost his life,” said family member Marylou Saur. “That’s far more devastating, but this too was devastating.”

DC Theatricks was a business that operated for 41 years. It created costumes for area theater productions as well as national and international Broadway shows.

Dave Dejac, a co-owner of DC Theatrics, has spent the last year coming to terms with the loss of his establishment. He explained that every day is a tough battle, but as time goes by, it gets a little easier.

“We started out small and just kept growing,” Dejac said. “It was a long haul. A lot of hard work but very creative on our end so we do miss that.”

Initially, following the fire, Dejac didn’t want to hold a benefit for his company. He didn’t want to take away from the grief of Engine 2 and the Buffalo Fire Department.

“He was a hero”: Buffalo firefighter Jason Arno remembered fondly

15 months later, family members decided it was time. They felt DC Theatricks deserved all of the support the community was eager to give them.

“When they finally gave us the ‘OK’ to do it, we started talking to people,” Saur said. “Everyone wanted to do it. It ended up not being a little benefit but quite a big one.”

Hundreds of people filled the Town Ballroom located in the Theater District to show their support. There were basket raffles for people to enter as well as a silent auction. Multiple music groups also performed, bringing entertainment to all of the guests.

Everyone involved in the event said they are beyond proud of how the community can come together when it’s needed most.

“I always felt that at DC Theatricks, all of our customers were like family,” family member Debbie Knoll said. “They were people we knew from year to year. I think the community is going to give back to DC Theatricks what they gave everyone throughout the years.”

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