Only a week after Christmas, when thrift store donations are more abundant than any other time of the year, The Salvation Army Family Store of Jackson and its donations have been destroyed by fire.
Salvation Army leaders say the fire will impact store employees and those served by the nearby Center of Hope shelter.
Around 5:30 a.m. Friday morning, the thrift store manager flipped the light switch, heard a popping sound, and soon realized the store was on fire. Salvation Army leaders believe an electrical problem caused the fire.
Jackson firemen, police and emergency medical vehicles were on the scene this morning as a gray cloud of smoke rose in the cold, winter air. Firefighters worked to extinguish the fire that erupted inside the 9,000-square-foot building.
Salvation Army Captain Jessie Chapman stood outside the nearby facilities that include the Center of Hope shelter. The other buildings were not damaged.
Chapman said they are working on a plan to temporarily create and house a new Salvation Army Family Store. An empty NAPA Auto Parts store could be a possible location, she said. They may also create a warehouse in the extra 1,100-square-foot space next to The Salvation Army Family Store in Pearl.
"If the air quality gets bad, we will have to close the shelter," Chapman said, as firefighters worked to put out the fire. "People in our shelter here are working until they can get a job, so that's put them out of work too. Since a lot of our shelter residents work in the store, we have to keep the shelter open 24 hours because they have no place to go in the cold."
Captain Ken Chapman said The Salvation Army Family Store helps subsidize rehabilitation and shelter programs.
He said the fire won't affect programs located in the Beasley Road facility or social services, but it will impact the shelter.
"Eventually, we are going to make an appeal to the community to replace all the things that have been burned and begin again," said Captain Ken Chapman, while noticing a rainbow created by a firefighter's water hose.
"God sent us a rainbow to remind us about Romans 8:28. ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.' "I know that, in the end, we will rebuild, and it will be better than ever."
If the public would like to help, Chapman said monetary donations are always best. As The Salvation Army corps secures a warehouse, they will be asking the public to donate clothing, household items, appliances, etc., so they can start again.
If you would like to make a donation, checks can be sent to The Salvation Army of Jackson, P. O. Box 31954, Jackson, MS, 39286-1954. For more information, call 601-982-4881.
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