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Downtown Talihina Business Owners Begin Cleanup After Fire

TALIHINA (KFSM)- Three days after the deadly shooting and fire in downtown Talihina, Oklahoma, business owners begin cleaning up what's left behind after the destruction.

The only stop light downtown is still changing, but Dallas Street is mostly closed off and business owners are trying to pick up the pieces.

"My heart sunk," Lauren Hubbard said. "[This] is my whole livelihood. I`ve been here ten years almost and everything that I`ve worked so hard for could be gone within a few minutes."

Hubbard owns The Hair Couture and said by the grace of God, her business was saved, but she said things around downtown have not been the same.

"It seems like a ghost town," Hubbard said. "It really feels like a war zone almost. You have debris still laying around and ashes and you can still kind of smell smoke in the air a little bit."

Hubbard's mom owns the boutique, Jewe LaRee Couture, which is next door and is also thankful to have no damage to her store.

Closer to the more than 100-year-old building where the shooting happened and the fire started are two businesses owned by Rhonda Sears. She is trying to cleanup what she can of her stores. She describes some of the damage.

"The paint is all blistered from the heat coming in and the water damage is from all the water the firemen had to use," Sears said.

She said the community has come together after this tragedy.

"We had a cooler full of orders, so once we finally sneaked in and got access to the building and found out our cooler had held the flowers cool enough to still service, I got on Facebook," Sears said. "All of our friends came and we had all the flowers delivered within the hour."

That support is what keeps Sears and other store owners holding on to faith.

"We will rebuild and we will reopen," Sears said. "Each time we`ve had a catastrophe in our business, we`ve come back stronger. Something good will come of this."

The store owners said those in the community have a fundraiser in the works to help shops that were damaged by the fire.

While several have opened back up for business, there's no clear timeline of when all the shops will re-open.