Several bays of a commercial building in an industrial area on the east side of Edmonton were consumed by fire early Friday, gutting a charity and its thrift store.
Firefighters were dispatched at 5:18 a.m. to the Second Chance Thrift Shop on 77 Street and Coronet Road and arrived at the scene six minutes later.
Heavy smoke and flames could be seen shooting from the roof of the building near the major intersection of 75 Street and Argyll Road.
The flames quickly spread from the thift store to the Emmanuel Foundation non-profit organization next door.
The charity exists to serve the poor in tangible ways, according to its website. It sends shipping containers of goods to developing countries, where it also builds playgrounds.
The Emmanuel Foundation also puts together ready-to-cook meal kits and says it raises funds for all those efforts through the thrift shop’s sales.
Emmanuel Foundation executive director Lyle Johnson said he received a call saying there was a big fire around 5:40 a.m., and rushed into the city from his home near Tofield.
“(I) was just sick,” Johnson about finding out about the fire.
“We’re just devastated.”
Edmonton Fire Rescue Services said the blaze was quickly upgraded to a two-alarm status, with nine firefighting units responding to the Davies Industrial area.
District chief Steve Baker said at the height of the fire, about 40 firefighters responded to fight the flames.
No one was inside the buildings and no one needed to be evacuated. Baker said it appears the inside of the charity and thrift shop were destroyed, but a third business in the building was untouched.
As of just before 7 a.m., the fire was still burning. By 8 a.m., crews were still on scene putting out hot spots but the situation was under control. It was put out a few hours later.
Fire investigators were called to look into the cause of the blaze. A damage estimate has yet to be done.