Firefighters battle blaze at Salvation Army in Perris; residents evacuated from rehab shelter

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Residents were evacuated from a rehabilitation shelter after a large fire sparked at a Salvation Army facility in Perris Tuesday, officials said.

Firefighters responded around 3:35 p.m., after flames from a large pile of burning debris spread to a structure, Cal Fire Riverside said in a tweet.

Video shared by the agency showed smoke and flames pouring from the building at 24195 Orange Ave., a warehouse space located behind the main structure at 24201 Orange Ave.

The blaze broke out in the warehouse area but spread to encompass the entire Annex building, which houses all products for the store, Salvation Army spokesperson Robert Brennan said.

Residents were evacuated from the Salvation Army’s Riverside Adult Rehabilitation Center, another structure on the property that houses men with substance abuse issues.

None of the residents were hurt, and officials hope that building may be spared. Those evacuated would be offered housing at other Salvation Army facilities, Brennan said.

“It’s always a loss when something like this takes place, because that’s the revenue we depend on the keep these programs going,” he told KTLA.

The flames also spread away from the buildings, and by 5:10 p.m. at least three spot fires were burning in the surrounding vegetation. They each measured about 100 feet by 30 feet in size, fire officials said.

When Sky5 arrived at the scene shortly before 6 p.m., the structure the fire originated in was burned to a shell and appeared to be completely destroyed. The spot fires looked to be extinguished, and the main storefront appeared relatively unscathed.

The flames were fully contained by 9 p.m., firefighters said.

Cal Fire estimates about $3.5 million worth of damage was done to the Annex building.

Brennan said the Salvation Army staff was awaiting the all-clear from officials to further inspect the damage to their facilities and estimate the total loss.

A railroad nearby was closed while crews battled the blaze. Motorists had also been asked to avoid the area.

No injuries were immediately reported. It’s unclear whether anyone was inside the store or warehouse when flames erupted.

A cause for Tuesday’s fire has yet to be determined.

In June, a Salvation Army store in Pasadena was singed after a fire sparked in massive pile of donations left outside the shop when it was closed for months due to coronavirus restrictions.

In that incident, shoppers were able to self-evacuate without injury and the fire remained mostly outside the building. However, officials said thousands of pounds of donated goods were destroyed.

The Perris thrift store reopened by June 15 after non-essential retail businesses in California were ordered closed in March.

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