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Reaction to fire that severely damaged a local thrift store

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - A fire broke out outside a local thrift store in the Foothills on Saturday.

The fire damaged all of the Hands Extended Thrift Store outside inventory and all the merchandise inside the building is smoke-damaged.

But the owner, Sherry Whitworth, is staying optimistic and is ready for the challenges ahead.

"I am not a weak person; I am a strong person. God made me that way," says Whitworth.

She shares with us what kind of items perished in the fire.

She says, "Everything from soup to nuts. This community blesses us beyond. The biggest losses were the collectibles. People are so generous in giving to us that the collectibles were the biggest thing."

I spoke with Captain Eddie Morales with Rural Metro Fire who says this fire was one of his most difficult to contain.

"I've been here since 2005 and this is probably one of the harder fires I've been on," says Captain Morales.

The fire happened on the hottest day in Yuma this year so far, which Morales says added another level of difficulty.

He adds, "Everything you do you get that extra fatigue, so as the day goes on, as the assignment progresses, even if you get a chance to get a break, the heat adds that extra fatigue factor to it so we got to have more breaks and stay hydrated."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but the owner shared what she thinks might have started it.

"Sometimes we get things that are shiny, so I thought maybe something combusted but they said that they found it 20 feet away…I have no idea what it was, I'd like to know," states Whitworth.

Despite having limited space and no electricity, the rebuilding has already begun.

Whitworth says, "We've ordered in a cargo container because they're wanting to bring things and you see of course we have no place to put anything…Every day this week, we have a cage out font that wasn't affected and we'll have someone here that would be glad to take what is brought in."

She adds that this is just a minor setback for a major comeback.

"We're going to be okay. We're going to be wonderful. We may be better than we were before! I have the want to cry, but I have more of the desire to smile, to laugh, and to know this going to be an experience we won't forget," Whitworth remarked.

Thankfully, nobody was hurt and the thrift store is already receiving the community's support.

To learn how you can help support, visit Hand Extended's Facebook page and their website.

Article Topic Follows: Local News

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Manoah Tuiasosopo

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