SEARCY, Ark. (KTHV) - Fire raced through Searcy's Goodwill Store overnight, leaving a community without a retail or donation center until other accommodations can be made.
For more than five hours Friday, Searcy firefighters battled flames at the city's Goodwill Retail and Donation Center.
Searcy Fire received a call about the blaze at 3707 Race Avenue shortly before 4:30 a.m., according to Assistant Chief Doug Baker
"At that time the building was fully involved from one end of the building to the other," Baker explained. "We've been working this morning trying to make sure we got everything extinguished and that's what we're in the process of doing now."
Authorities say the smoldering structure is a total loss.
Lisa Wamsley with Goodwill of Arkansas said she and her staff have mixed emotions about the fire. While they are certainly sorry for the loss, they recognize the situation could be much worse.
"The biggest thing I can say is, I'm just thankful no one was here at the building, that no one was hurt," Wamsley said thankfully. "That's kind of where we are today."
The store, which has been at its same location since the early 80s, employs 15 workers, many of whom are long-time employees.
"One thing about Goodwill is, it's a Goodwill family and we stick together and so this was their home," Wamsley stressed.
Instead of coming into work Friday, Wamsley treated her staff to breakfast and promised Goodwill will not be absent from the Searcy community for long.
"We love being in Searcy. We will not leave Searcy. Once I leave you today I'm going to go try and find a temporary spot, so that we can get re-opened as soon as possible."
She hopes to have a donation trailer in place by the weekend and possibly a temporary retail location by late next week.
With all donations now gone, Wamsley is asking the public for help in rebuilding inventory.
"We rely on the community's donations, so right now we really need your support. We will have a donation trailer out probably by the end of the day or first thing tomorrow. So, we really, really need your donations."
The cause of the fire has not been determined. Goodwill Arkansas has more than 30 locations, including donation centers, retail stores and education centers in Arkansas, but only that one location in Searcy.