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A fire was reported at an Ashland, Ohio warehouse on May 30. The fire began at Pump House Ministries, a warehouse that kept books and other supplies for the religious group's thrift stores. The warehouse was destroyed by the blaze.
The fire was reported around 2:15 a.m. at 204 E. Fourth Street, one of the many buildings the ministry owns along several blocks in the area. At least 50 firefighters reported to the scene, according to Ashland Fire Chief Rick Anderson. The crews came from nearby towns including Nankin, Polk, Savannah, Mansfield, Wooster, Jeromesville and Loudonville.
Residents nearby were able to see the blaze change from thick smoke to an intense fire before fire crews could control it. Justin Shreve, a resident of Ashland, was present to see the fire grow larger and more dangerous.
"I was actually shooting pool and was just leaving when I saw all the fire trucks," Shreve told the Mansfield News Journal. "Ladder 50 (Ashland) went in the air first, then the grounds crew began attacking from the back. I watched firefighters punch holes in the side of the building with an ax so the fire could breathe."
It is unclear if industrial fire alarms or flame detector sensors were used inside the warehouse. Using these devices greatly reduces the risk of destructive fires.
As of 7:15 a.m. that morning, fire crews were still on the scene, attempting to suppress the flames. The fire at the warehouse is the second in five years for Pump House Ministries. Owner of Pump Ministries Bruce Wilkonsin reported that the organization doesn't have the funds to demolish or repair the now-destroyed structure. The building that was damaged in a 2008 fire has not yet been torn down, due to lack of funds.
No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire is unknown.
The group is a Christian organization that provides low-cost goods at their thrift shop, where most of the employees are from underprivileged and impoverished populations. The ministry also runs a food pantry for the homeless and provides assistance to people who have lost their homes or possessions to fires.
Pump Ministries operates across the U.S., collecting clothing and supplies. They have also begun sending supplies, such as water purification systems, around the world, and have provided Kenyans with small chicken farms to feed their families through micro-financing.
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