The Aliso Fire in Orange County not only burned hundreds of acres and forced evacuations, but it also ruined a special day for Costa Mesa High School students.
As the blaze, which at one point Saturday reached more than 250 acres, ripped through Laguna Beach and Aliso Viejo, the flames threatened not only homes but also nearby Soka University, where the high schoolers were supposed to be celebrating prom night.
Just three hours before doors were supposed to open at 7 p.m., as some couples were eating, others getting ready and still others getting into their party buses, the messages of a cancellation spread via email and social media.
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Rachel Kricorian, who spent a year on the prom committee, had to break the news to her fellow classmates: "I'm letting everyone know don't show up. I'm so sorry."
The teens spent hard-earned cash on beautiful manicures and colorful corsages. Katrina Foley catered a pre-prom dinner from Maggiano's for her son and other couples.
"They got their hair and makeup done and they don't get a refund. It's just a bummer," Foley said.
But there's a silver lining. When people got word of the cancellation, they started making donations.
Friar Tux allowed student to keep their tuxedos until next week. Paul Mitchell agreed to restyle hair. Rita Raven Hair Lounge gave one teen a refund.
"I posted on Facebook to other stylists to offer the same or redo their hair next weekend," said Rita Raven Hair Lounge employee Maureen Mazzarella.
The prom is now planned to take place next week, but the big lingering question is whether or not a scheduling conflict might keep the students from having it at the beautiful Soka University campus. They'll have to wait until next week to find out.
"All the seniors are so sad," Kricorian said. "It's their senior prom they didn't get to go, but we want to keep them with some hope."