LUTZ, Fla — It’s a busy day at station House BBQ in Lutz.
“Seeing people come in today has just been overwhelming, just feelings of a huge amount of support, we couldn’t of asked for a better community,” said owner Allison Fonseca.
All day, neighbors and first responders have taken a seat to enjoy a meal and show Fonseca and her husband Anthony, a Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Lieutenant at station 40, things will be OK.
“It’s a business worth saving and right now they need us,” said Eric Stokes, a firefighter for the City of Tampa.
A block down the street sits a charred and hallowed-out shell of a truck so vital to their operation. They used it to transport food and supplies to their second location in temple Terrace. Wednesday, it went up in flames.
“It was filled with all of the stuff that we bring home in between the days to make sure it’s clean and sanitized and everything and ready to go for service for the next day to run our second location, which is growing quickly. So there was a lot of stuff in there,” Fonseca said.
Fonseca says her employee saw smoke billowing out. Once they safely pulled off to the side, flames began to take over and by the time firefighters arrived, it was a complete loss.
“Everything that’s inside of it is gone, burnt like up to a crisp,” Fonseca said. “It looks like it’s salvageable from the outside but when you look inside it’s just like devastation.”
The couple say they just don’t have the money to replace the truck and what’s inside right now. Business has been slow this summer and they’ve had a rough go financially. But when Stokes got word of what happened he brought his whole family.
He knows how important generosity is. It was Allison and Anthony who stepped up for him recently.
“A couple of months ago I was in the hospital with a life-threatening illness and they raised, unsolicited, [they] raised over $2000 for me and my family,” he said.
A gesture that can only be repaid in kindness.
“Basically with the rest of the community it’s our turn,” Stokes said. “And I know that other people are going to step up and I know that they’re going to be OK.”