Fire levels Neighborhood Ministries warehouse, destroys donations

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Investigators are trying to determine if an overnight fire that destroyed thousands of dollars of goods donated to a well-known Valley non-profit organization might have been vandalism. By Catherine Holland Investigators are trying to determine if an overnight fire that destroyed thousands of dollars of goods donated to a well-known Valley non-profit organization might have been vandalism. By Catherine Holland
Investigators are trying to determine if an overnight fire that destroyed thousands of dollars of goods donated to a well-known Valley non-profit organization might have been vandalism. By Catherine Holland Investigators are trying to determine if an overnight fire that destroyed thousands of dollars of goods donated to a well-known Valley non-profit organization might have been vandalism. By Catherine Holland
Investigators are trying to determine if an overnight fire that destroyed thousands of dollars of goods donated to a well-known Valley non-profit organization might have been vandalism. By Catherine Holland Investigators are trying to determine if an overnight fire that destroyed thousands of dollars of goods donated to a well-known Valley non-profit organization might have been vandalism. By Catherine Holland
Investigators are trying to determine if an overnight fire that destroyed thousands of dollars of goods donated to a well-known Valley non-profit organization might have been vandalism. By Catherine Holland Investigators are trying to determine if an overnight fire that destroyed thousands of dollars of goods donated to a well-known Valley non-profit organization might have been vandalism. By Catherine Holland
Investigators are trying to determine if an overnight fire that destroyed thousands of dollars of goods donated to a well-known Valley non-profit organization might have been vandalism. By Catherine Holland Investigators are trying to determine if an overnight fire that destroyed thousands of dollars of goods donated to a well-known Valley non-profit organization might have been vandalism. By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Investigators are trying to determine if an overnight fire that destroyed thousands of dollars of goods donated to a well-known Valley non-profit organization might have been vandalism.

It's not clear yet how the Neighborhood Ministries warehouse at 19th Avenue and Van Buren Street in Phoenix caught fire because there is no power to the building.

The fast-moving two-alarm fire, which started at about 1 a.m., leveled the warehouse. While firefighters were able to contain the flames to the warehouse, they were not able to save anything inside the building. Clothing, 20 baby cribs, other furniture, mattresses, electronics, toys -- all of it was destroyed.

"We've lost everything that we've been collecting for over a year," said Kit Danley, president of Neighborhood Ministries. "Our thrift store is just barely a year old. All of the items in here were really important to our community and to our families that use this as their community store."

"What we have left now is just what we have in the store," said Becky Andrews, a Neighborhood Ministries manager.

It took about 60 firefighters more than an hour to get the fire under control and eventually extinguished. No injuries were reported.

The good news is that crews were able to keep the flames from spreading to the building next door, which is the thrift store itself.

"What we're thankful for as we stand here looking at this debris is that the building that we've spent the last year and a half rehabbing in order to house the new businesses of Neighborhood Ministries -- our T-shirt shop... and our thrift store..., they're completely untouched, " Danley said. "This building is strong and safe."

Danley said Neighborhood Ministries will need the public's help to replenish the merchandise that was destroyed, and they're ready to accept donations now.

"We have a warehouse that we'll just open up right away," Danley said.

Investigators will be sifting through the ruins to try and determine what sparked the fire. There's no indication yet what sparked the fire, but Danley said there is no electricity to the warehouse.

Neighborhood Ministries,a faith-based non-profit organization, has been serving Valley families since the early 1980s. The organization is in need of a few items, including bottled water, 6- to 8-foot tables, dollies, a drill and tools for repairs. For more information or to make a donation, call 602-252-5225 or visit www.nmaz.org.