Charity, thrift store burn down in Edmonton Friday morning

·2 min read
A commercial building in southeast Edmonton caught fire Friday morning. The Emmanuel Foundation and a thrift store housed in the building burned down as a result. (David Bajer/CBC - image credit)
A commercial building in southeast Edmonton caught fire Friday morning. The Emmanuel Foundation and a thrift store housed in the building burned down as a result. (David Bajer/CBC - image credit)

A thrift store and charity in Edmonton burned down Friday morning after the commercial building they were housed in caught fire.

Edmonton Fire and Rescue Services received a call about a fire on Coronet Road, off 77th Street in the Avonmore neighbourhood, shortly after 5:15 a.m., spokesperson Matt Pretty said.

A commercial building with three businesses had caught fire. There were a lot of flames and heavy smoke in the area, he said.

When the first firefighters arrived on scene, the fire was well underway and flames could be seen coming out of the back of the building. The crew called a second alarm shortly after arriving, district chief Stephen Baker told reporters Friday.

"It was mainly an exterior attack because it was too dangerous to go inside," he said, citing the rough of the building was compromised and could have put firefighters' safety at risk.

At the peak of the response, there were 45 firefighters on scene, Baker added.

David Bajer/CBC
David Bajer/CBC

Firefighters did not yet know where or how the fire started when Baker spoke to journalists. But investigators had arrived on scene to figure it out, he said.

No one was inside the buildings and no injuries were reported, Pretty said.

The commercial building housed two businesses and a charitable organization. The Emmanuel Foundation and a thrift store burned down, while the other business sustained water damage on the outside, Baker said.

"We're just stunned," said Lyle Johnson, executive director of the Emmanuel Foundation, which focuses on helping poor communities internationally.

Johnson had been called about the fire around 5:45 a.m. and booked it to the scene, he said.

"You could see immediately that everything was lost. It was all gone."

Travis McEwan/CBC
Travis McEwan/CBC

Johnson, who lives outside of the city, received messages about the situation as they drove in, so he was prepared, he said.

All of the charity's inventory and work spaces are destroyed as is the thrift store, which supported the Emmanuel Foundation, he said, noting that it will take a few days before knowing the true impact of the fire on the charity.

Hope Mission, a non-profit that helps impoverished people and those experiencing homelessness, stored things such as clothing and its food truck in the commercial building as well, Johnson said.

Johnson will meet with the board of the Emmanuel Foundation in the coming days to decide how to proceed.

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