50,000 lb of food destroyed after fire ripped through Maricopa Food Pantry
MARICOPA AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — It’s a long road to recovery for Maricopa Food Pantry after a fire destroyed around 50,000 lb of food. The fire happened just 15 minutes after their food bank closed on Monday morning. Smoke was still coming from the rubble 24 hours later. “It had to be 40-50 feet in the air, just pure black smoke. It engulfed the entire neighborhood,” said Maricopa Food Pantry President Mike Connelly. “The heat we could feel down at the corner.”
The fire came dangerously close to Mountain View Community Church, where Connelly and CEO Jim Shoaf are elders and where they feed the community. “What hurts the most is the impact on the community around us. A lot of people benefitted around here. Maricopa is a food desert. There isn’t a lot of food banks and stuff out here,” said Connelly.
Connelly said investigators still don’t know what caused the fire, but he and Shoaf believe the trailers with more than a hundred gallons of diesel fuel to refrigerate food made it much worse. “This looks bad but we are not done. We are going to come out of the rubble,” said Shoaf.
Shoaf and his wife founded the food pantry more than 20 years ago. All that matters, they said, is that no one was hurt and the church is still standing. “This is God’s house and his mission. It’s up to us to continue his mission,” said Connelly.
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