TEMPLE TERRACE, Fla. — Authorities are calling a New Year's Day fire at a Temple Terrace business suspicious.
The city's fire chief confirmed that an investigation is currently underway involving the Florida State Fire Marshal's Office.
The incident happened at the A-K-A Beauty Lounge, located at 10915 56th Street.
None of the equipment inside the building was insured.
"It hurts. It’s devastating because we put a lot of work into this," said Aqua Baxter.
Baxter, Keidre Kannady and Aja Wilson spent Tuesday surveying damaging at the business.
They worked for months doing renovations and purchased thousands of dollars in equipment so the partners could offer lash treatments, makeup, waxing, teeth whitening and other beauty services.
Kannady drove by the business early Friday and saw firefighters putting out flames.
"I’m like 'what’s going on?' And they said somebody threw something through the window," Kannady said.
The owners were shocked to learn from the firefighter that the fire was believed to have been intentionally set.
"We don’t have any enemies or beef with anybody. We fed the homeless, gave away toys for free," said Kannady.
"It’s just that that was taken away from us on New Year’s Day. And there’s just nothing we can do about it," said Wilson.
The three partners, who previously worked together, pooled their money during the pandemic to open their dream business.
Repairs to the building will take months and all the equipment they bought was destroyed. The business partners currently have nowhere to work.
"Now how are we gonna help our kids or our family or pay bills?" said Baxter.
They're hoping surveillance footage from nearby businesses will help investigators solve the crime.
They are also raising money through a GoFundMe page to help them in the meantime.
"We hope we can come up with enough money to open up. We probably put together all together $30,000 in the shop to get everything going," said Wilson.
If you have information about the arson, contact Temple Terrace Police.
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