Created: 12/18/2013 10:25 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4
After an Albuquerque landmark was gutted by fire on Wednesday evening, the downtown community is coming together to hold one another up.
The National Flamenco Institute is a dance studio and conservatory where the ancient Spanish dance of flamenco is taught to students of all ages, from around the world.
It's the only school of its kind in the United States.
"It's really hard to see the place go," Andres Salazar said.
As ashes settle all around, Salazar can't help but think about what's been lost.
"Everyone has an opportunity to dance at this studio," Salazar said. "That's the only reason some people are able to learn flamenco."
Salazar could only watch as his second home burned on Wednesday. Wrapped in flames, the studio where Salazar himself learned how to dance the flamenco.
The family-owned school is world-renowned for teaching the art.
Firefighters say it's almost certain the blaze started in the studio -- now just a shell -- destroyed by flames so hot and so destructive, the fire could only be fought from the outside.
"We need the people of Albuquerque to help," Salazar said.
Only a handful of hours after the fire started, help began to arrive.
"We have started a fundraiser for them," Debbie Stover said. "It's really tragic because it appears obviously they've lost everything."
Stover is director of Albuquerque's Downtown Action Team.
"We'll be helping them try to find another place to be," she said.
The loss, says Stover, is unimaginable.
"All their costumes were lost, all their all their computers and that sort of thing," Stover said. "We'll be talking to them in the morning to find out exactly what they need."
While the dancers face this challenge, they have a challenge for us.
"I think that Albuquerque needs to step up," Salazar said. "I have no doubt there's going to be a recovery."