A massive pile of donations amassed during coronavirus stay-home orders burned outside a Salvation Army store in Pasadena Wednesday.
About 20 people were inside the store at 56 W. Del Mar Ave. and fled when the fire erupted outside around 12:15 p.m., said Lisa Derderian, a spokesperson for the Pasadena Fire Department.
The location reopened May 22 after being shuttered for months during COVID-19 shutdowns.
It’s unclear exactly what sparked the flames, but Derderian said thousands of pounds of collected goods were destroyed.
“People have been cleaning out their homes, storage sheds and garages for months and so this all amassed here,” she said. “These donations turned into debris real quickly.”
L.A. County fire officials had to bring in heavy duty equipment to help sift through the debris and ensure there were no flare ups. It took about half an hour to get the fire under control.
The fire remained mostly on the building’s exterior, with very minimal exposure to the actual structure, Derderian said.
Derderian said donations piling up outside closed thrift stores have become a large concern, and it’s lucky the flames didn’t spread to a school and other commercial buildings nearby.