CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, the Fonzie Muñoz photography studio on Everhart Road caught fire.
Muñoz estimated he was able to recover around 90 percent of the hard drives in the building, but the building itself, including all cameras and equipment inside, was destroyed.
Muñoz had been in the building only about six months.
After seeing what happened to Muñoz, people from all over offered their help to get him back on his feet.
“I was so broken hearted to hear this happened,” said Mark McCall, a photographer based out of Lubbock, and a friend of Muñoz. “Of all the people I know in this industry, very few are cut from the same cloth that Fonzie is.”
McCall is at the Texas School of Professional Photography in Dallas for a workshop, and found out about the fire through Facebook.
“We all feel awful because Fonzie is very respected in this industry,” he said. “Word has gotten around up here in Dallas that Fonzie has had this, and we’re taking steps to help him, both financially, and with equipment and any other help he might need.”
McCall said the TSPP has a charity that will be offering to help Muñoz with any money or equipment he may need.
Locally, one of Muñoz’s former classmates at Miller High School is hoping to rally the Miller alumni community to help.
“I can just imagine what he feels like, and I think the community needs to come together and help him rebuild, or whatever he needs.Whatever it takes to get that business up and going,” said Cynthia Ramon. “As a Miller Buccaneer alumni member, I’m hoping that all our Miller alumni, fanbase, self-employed, small businesses, can come together and do that for him.”
The local photography community has even offered a helping hand, including Muñoz’s competitors.
“We’re like one big family, and if someone falls down, we want to pick them up in any way possible,” said Ashlee Strichen, the owner of Sweetest Snaps Photography. “So, it was just immediate. I wanted to reach out to him, ‘is there anything I can do for you? Do you need my studio, do you need my equipment, do you need anything? I’m more than happy to help.’”
Strichen said she has a great relationship with Muñoz, and sees him around at workshops and other events.
“He’s always there, he’s always got the biggest smile and a huge hug. So, when it’s somebody so great, you just want to help in anyway possible,” Strichen said.
Muñoz said he received dozens of texts and messages from people offering to help out, and was overwhelmed by how much support his community was offering.