Officials at the Summersville Salvation Army still do not know the cause of a Friday morning fire that rendered everything in the thrift store unsalvageable, said Capt. Rob Barber.

That includes $4,000 of just-purchased food, personal care items and diapers that were stored in another area of the building.

“We’ve been advised that absolutely none of that is useful — even the items in the freezer need to be disposed of,” Barber told MetroNews Monday.

The fire broke out around 2 a.m. at the Salvation Army headquarters on Broad Street. It started at the back door of the building and was not believed to be electrical in nature.

Barber said his organization is awaiting word from the state Fire Marshal’s Office to determine if the building will be habitable. In the meantime, the Salvation Army needs a new place to conduct business.

“We’re looking for some sort of office space, at least to start off with, just to have a base of operations,” Barber said. He said if someone within the community can donate office space, that would allow the organization to at least continue its social work. Barber said the thrift store and food pantry must be addressed later.

At this point, Barber said, the Summersville Salvation Army cannot accept donations of items like clothing, food or household goods.

“Right now, because we have no place to go with it, cash donations are the most useful for us,” Barber said. “I appreciate everybody’s prayers. That’s the thing that’s going to make the biggest difference as far as our being able to recover quickly and getting back to what we do.”

For the past eight years, the Summersville Salvation Army has relied upon $40,000 from the William Shaver Trust to pay its operational bills, like salaries and rent. That allowed the agency to return the money from the thrift store and other donations back into community services. However, the trust money is no longer available.

“The Shaver money ran out last year,” said Barber. “So we’ve been struggling to keep ourselves out of debt and still be there to help people.”

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