HELENA – Helena Industries leaders say their thrift store will be closed for at least a few days, while they assess the damage from a fire Thursday night.
Interim CEO Barbara Walsh said it appears the fire started in the building’s freight elevator, then spread into a room on the second floor where extra goods are stored. She said firefighters believe it may have been caused by an electrical problem. No one was in the building at the time of the fire.
There was water damage below the fire, where employees were processing donated clothes, and much of the building received smoke damage. However, the retail floor was relatively unaffected.
Walsh said the building’s metal roof and about nine roof trusses will have to be replaced. The total value of the damage could be more than $200,000.
“We actually have fairly good insurance,” Walsh said. “It’s going to also cover some of the business income that we will lose by shutting down for a while.”
It’s still too early to know when the thrift store could open for business, though Walsh said they hope to reopen as soon as possible.
“They have to first make sure the structure is safe – and basically walled off – for us to be able to then work in the other section of the building,” she said.
Walsh said Helena Industries cannot accept donations while the store is closed. Once they reopen, though, she said they will be looking for donated clothes. Many of the clothes they had were lost because of fire or water damage. Others were exposed to smoke and may have to be thrown out.