MODESTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A fire broke out at a Salvation Army warehouse in Modesto, leaving the non-profit in need of donations.
The donation center and warehouse is at a total loss, piles of debris were thousands of donations being stored in the warehouse, which will have to be rebuilt.
Building owner Ron Simi got the call Thursday afternoon that his building was on fire.
“I came down and it was already being attacked by the fire department and everything so just kind of had to stand around and watch everything burn,” Simi said.
The fire at the building on the 4000 block of McHenry Avenue in Modesto, which has been in Simi’s family since he had it built in 1981, grew to a five-alarm fire.
It took more than a dozen fire engines and crews from Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties to extinguish the blaze.
“There was a lot of smoke, a lot of smoke and when they got it open a little bit then there were flames. It was a very, very hot fire,” Simi said.
The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation center in Stockton has operated its retail store and donation center out of the building for the last three years.
So that store and two others are the way in which we raise funds through the sales of the product to, to fund our 160 bed, six-month residential program for men with the disease of addiction,” said Maj. Sylvan Young, Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center Administrator.
Young added the program is free, so losing the store will have a major impact on their operations.
“So that is our largest store. So that’s a big chunk of income that has been shut off at this point,” Young said. “So it is crucial that we get that back up and running.”
The warehouse is a total loss, as 160 containers full of donations burned, but firefighters were able to save the attached store.
“The store doesn’t seem to be affected as much and our hope is that we can get that up and running soon,” Young said.
Young said the fire won’t stop them from their mission to help men recover from addiction.
“This is just a setback. We’re still moving forward,” Young said.
The Salvation Army brought in several box trucks to continue collecting donations.
Simi said he plans to rebuild the building so the Salvation Army can continue the good work they do for years to come.
“Well, we do all we can to get them up and running as soon as we can,” Simi said.
The Salvation Army is also accepting monetary donations. If you would like to help, click here to make a donation.