FORT PIERCE, Fla. - The symbol of hope is now a pile of rubble, after a fire sparked early this morning engulfing the Love Ministries Center Thrift Shop in Flames.
The center helps fight violence, addiction and homelessness. Those who used it as a place to work, clothe their families and shop for furniture, are tying to figure out how to cope with the loss.
The fire broke out just off of Avenue D. Nothing is salvageable and those fighting addiction say it is a tremendous loss.
It started with a loud boom around 8 a.m.
" We heard an explosion and ran outside, " says Curtis Hunt.
Curtis Hunt didn't have to go far to see the tall flames towering over the building, captured on a family member's cell phone.
" It's terrible," says Hunt.
Terrible not only for Hunt's family who would shop there, but also for recovery crack addict Eddie Reed.
"The man took me in when I had no place to go, helping me with my family to get my life back on track," says Reed.
Getting people's lives on track was one of the ministries many missions.
Jerome Rhyant, founder and pastor, started the foundation in 1995. Construction on the thrift store began in 1999 and was complete in 2006.
' What took 7 years to build went down in an hour and a half," he says.
The foundation was funded solely on donations.
" Unfortunately we lost one of ministries main producers of income."
The ministry is funded solely on donations. The building was not insured because it was too expensive, costing $7,000-$9,000 a year.
Rhyant says while he is optimistic he shares the devastation felt by those around him, but is hoping this mess can serve as a message.