Fire rips through Grace Centers of Hope thrift store in Sterling Heights, donations needed

Posted at 5:09 PM, Sep 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-12 17:19:18-04

A fire ripped through the Grace Centers of Hope's warehouse for their flagship thrift store in Sterling Heights.

The items damaged were being sold to help the homeless.

Pastor Kent Clark said, "Very sad, to me, to see the awful damage that's been done."

The fire broke out Friday afternoon and spread so fast - four employees with fire extinguishers couldn't stop it.

Sterling Heights Fire Chief Chris Martin explained, "That tells you how well the fire was going because with four fire extinguishers they were unable to slow down the fire. A lot of fire load, with mattresses and clothing that was stored in the building."

There were 110 brand new mattresses and 80 new couches ready to sell that went up in flames.

Grace Centers of Hope has four thrift stores that provide more than 50% of their funding.

They use the money at their homeless shelters, helping people get back on their feet.

Clark said, "I would say we've lost close to $400,000 or $500,000."

Fire officials believe the fire started right here due to careless smoking.

It quickly burned through the roof.

"Then you've got a fire both inside the building and on top of the building and that actually burned a hole through the building and the fire spread throughout the clothes, starting moving through the card board things like that," Chief Martin said.

Now, Grace Centers of Hope is looking to replace the items damaged.

"To those Channel 7 viewers if you can help us we would appreciate it so much," the pastor added.

The thrift store sustained smoke damage and will be open later this week.

If you would like to donate money, clothes or furniture, log on to: http://www.gracecentersofh