A charity thrift store in Newton has been temporarily shut down after a fire was set Sunday evening.
The Community Thrift Store, operated by the Surrey Hospice Society and Surrey Fire, has been serving people out of its 7138 King George Blvd. location for the past seven years and has more than 60 volunteers. Most of the profit goes to charity work in the city.
Jacqueline Hewitt, executive director of the Surrey Hospice Society, said five young men were seen lighting a mattress on fire outside the store, at about 7 p.m.
Deputy Surrey Fire Chief John Caviglia said the heat broke the store's window and then ate its way inside.
While the front sustained mostly smoke damage, the area where donations are sorted was hit hardest and a lot of merchandise was lost.
"It's a shame," Caviglia said. "A lot of support for the community comes out of that store. We're hoping it'll only be closed for a week or two."
Police have an arson investigation underway and are looking for the five young men, who were last seen running toward the bus loop. Hewitt said the store's staff is "devastated" by this set back.
"It's very said," she said, that so much donated clothing and other goods were destroyed.
"We're losing money every day the store is closed."
Hewitt said the charities are trying to find a temporary place to sort what's left of the donated items, and more donations as they come in.
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