The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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February 8, 2013

Salvation Army loses Summersville facility to fire

The Summersville Salvation Army, an organization that has helped thousands during crisis situations, is facing a disaster of its own after an early morning fire destroyed the Broad Street building Friday.

Salvation Army Capt. Robert Barber said at this point, it’s hard to make a call about the building.

“There was heavy fire and smoke damage on both floors,” Barber said.

He said there was a fire at the end of January last year, when someone had set fire to the door on the back of the building.

“It appears to be similar to the one last year.”

The Summersville Salvation Army location included a thrift store and food pantry, and it also provided social services and church services.

Barber said the building was rented, so he is unsure whether the owner will rebuild.

“It’s going to keep us from assisting people for a while. We’re hoping to set up an office soon for social services.”

He said this location had recently purchased $4,000 worth of food items and personal care items.

“It will be difficult for us to overcome this loss. We’re usually there helping fire and flood victims, but now we’re victims of our own disaster.”

He said the process will be a challenge, but they plan on doing whatever they can to stay active in the community.

Jared Cruse, assistant chief of the Summersville Fire Department, said the fire call came in at 2:20 a.m. and the first crew arrived on scene within 6 minutes.

Upon arrival, he said there was already heavy fire on the first floor and moderate fire on the second floor of the two-story concrete building.

Fire crews from Summersville, Richwood, Wilderness and Nettie fought the flames for approximately three and a half hours and were able to contain the fire to the building.

A restaurant and laundrymat are located across the parking lot, but Cruse said neither of those building sustained damage.

Cruse said he was unable to comment about a possible cause or origin of the fire, but the West Virginia State Fire Marshal is investigating.

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