Downtown charity begins fire recovery operation.

Arson investigators are currently examining the causes behind a suspicious fire at a warehouse located on the campus of Grace Lutheran Church in downtown San Antonio. The fire, which occurred early Saturday morning, prompted volunteers to swiftly initiate cleanup and repairs to address the damage. Firefighters received distress calls around 1:48 a.m., reporting a fire in a storage building used by the Christian Assistance Ministry, an organization that offers various services to the homeless community six days a week.

Mary Henderson, Operations Director at Christian Assistance Ministry, expressed gratitude towards the three volunteer groups who remained committed to providing assistance despite the unforeseen circumstances. The volunteers, even without electricity, managed to provide meals to several individuals who had gathered at their usual breakfast spot. According to Henderson, the organization perseveres in their mission of feeding people from Monday to Saturday, regardless of any obstacles.

While some volunteers continued their direct service efforts, others ventured into the dark and cavernous warehouse to combat the grime and stench left behind by the fire, which penetrated a massive door on the building’s east end. Repairing the breached wall became a crucial first step in the recovery process, as Henderson emphasized that without it, the organization’s supplies remained vulnerable.

The subsequent challenge entailed evaluating what items could be salvaged and what would need to be discarded. Henderson explained that the smoke presented a significant problem, particularly for the out-of-season clothing they stored as preparation for colder weather. Smoke damage jeopardized the condition of hoodies and fleeces earmarked for the first cold snap, potentially rendering them unusable.

Volunteers invested hours in clearing out soot-covered goods, including school supplies in backpacks designated for specific children. Henderson underscored their commitment to maintaining a readily available supply of warm clothing for children, ensuring they wouldn’t be left shivering during the initial cold spell.

Looking towards the recovery effort, Henderson requested support from the community, both in the form of prayers and practical aid. She specifically mentioned the need for the swift resolution of external factors such as electricity restoration, the availability of repair specialists, and the delivery of goods.

At present, Christian Assistance Ministry cannot accept donations of goods due to immediate space constraints. However, with the possibility of discarding a substantial amount of clothing items, they anticipate the need for contributions in the coming weeks. Financial contributions and extra helping hands for the cleaning process will also be essential, as stated by Henderson. Furthermore, the organization has a wish list available on their website.

The San Antonio Fire Department (SAFD) received reports indicating that an individual in a vehicle drove past the building and hurled a flaming bottle at it. Arson investigators promptly arrived at the scene to conduct their investigation, although they have yet to release any updates regarding the cause of the fire. Fortunately, no injuries were reported, as the building remained unoccupied at the time.

Despite the challenging and unpleasant work, Henderson expressed immense gratitude to all the individuals present, commending them for embodying the values of Christian service. As the cleanup continues, the organization remains steadfast in its commitment to assisting those in need.

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