Edmonton

Hope Mission scrambling for winter gear after warehouse fire

A fire destroyed a food truck used by the Hope Mission for school lunch programs. The fire also claimed the agency's supply of winter clothing. As overnight lows have begun to dip below zero, the group is putting out a call for help.

'We just need the support of our community,' spokesperson for agency says

Edmonton Fire Rescue Services at the scene of Friday's fire. (Travis McEwan/CBC)

The Hope Mission team is scrambling for solutions after a fire destroyed a food truck and the charity's supply of winter clothing.

"It was all set aside and ready to go. Now it's gone," said spokesperson Lauren Reid. 

"There's a significant number of people out there who need help. We're just trying to figure out how we pull through as a community at this point."

The items were being stored at a warehouse in the city's southeast which went up in flames early Friday morning. 

Emergency crews battle the early morning blaze in southeast Edmonton. (David Bajer/CBC)

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 at the scene Friday.

At the peak of the response, 45 firefighters battled the fire. 

The building was run by the Emmanuel Foundation and housed a thrift store as well as warehouse and office space. Edmonton Fire Rescue Services said the investigation is still underway and that no damage estimate or cause had been determined.

Reid doesn't believe the truck is salvageable based on what they know so far.

Lauren Reid with the Hope Mission is worried about providing warm clothing to those who rely on the organization. (Google)

"That's a huge loss for us," she said. "But we're mainly concerned about how we're going to move forward and provide people with these necessary items to protect them from our extreme weather."

Hope Mission shelters about 500 people every night, in addition to offering meals, counselling programs and youth programs — all different access points people may have used to get clothing and winter gear in the past. 

While she wasn't able to quantify the exact number of items lost, Reid stressed that the need is great.

"We're still trying to figure out how much of what different items were lost, but mainly we just need the support of our community."

Hope Mission is looking for donations of gently used warm clothing items in all sizes at their main office downtown.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tricia Kindleman

Reporter/Producer

Tricia Kindleman has spent her life in Alberta. She grew up in Edmonton and attended Mount Royal College, now university, in Calgary. She has worked in newsrooms in Edmonton and Grande Prairie.

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