Fire damages Irish dance studio while performers prepare for St. Patrick's Day

Photo of Murray School of Irish Dancing after the fire - KATU images

Multiple businesses are trying to figure out how to move forward after a fire ripped through their building Sunday morning.

One of the businesses is Murray School of Irish Dancing. It’s one of a few businesses in the same building right off of Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway in southwest Portland.

"I have about 90 to 100 dancers, depending on the time of year,” Geraldine Murray, owner of Murray School of Irish Dancing, said. “And we're getting ready for St. Patrick's day now."

Geraldine Murray is just about a month and a half out from her biggest event of the year. "St. Patrick's Day for Irish dance schools is their Nutcracker," Murray explained.

So, instead of writing music and planning choreography for her students, Murray is breathing in disaster.

"It's mostly smoke," Murray explained. “I did not end up with actual fire damage, but with the smoke everything needs to be cleaned and you can smell it."

The fire tore through the building Sunday morning.

No one was hurt, but the three-alarm incident was relentless, forcing crews to attack from both inside, and up above.

"I'm lucky in a sense but at the same sense it's gonna take a long time and a lot of money to do," Murray said.

Geraldine's passion is Irish dancing. Opening up a studio was a dream. Now she's teaching world class athletes.

"I had a kid that placed fifth in the world championship last year," Murray said.

Her community started a GoFundMe for repairs. She says insurance won't cover much, but she's got Irish blood, and she's tougher than this.

"It's going to be tough but I want to make sure that my kids feel that they haven't lost to the dance school because they haven't,” Murray said. “I'll teach in a paper bag if I have to."

St. Mary’s has offered Geraldine a place to practice in the meantime.

Including the dance studio there are at least five businesses affected by this fire which means more than 100 people are feeling the impact.

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