Fire at Anderson thrift store under investigation

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ANDERSON, Ind. - Investigators are working to determine the cause behind a fire that destroyed a non-profit.

Around midnight on New Year’s Eve, Anderson firefighters were called to a fire at The Mercy Center off of Main St.  Firefighters battled the fire for more than seven hours in subzero temperatures.

The Anderson Fire Chief tells FOX59 firefighters dealt with freezing gear and had to retreat to a city bus to warm up.

“This kind of rips the ability to help others away and that’s where my heart is with helping other,” explains Sandra Evans, owner of The Mercy Center.

Sandra Evans started The Mercy Center more than twenty years ago. The store was meant to help anyone who needed anything.

“We had blankets and sheets, bedding and pots and pans, dishes, all kinds of clothing,” explains Evans.

The Mercy Center was set up as a donation based store. If you need something, take it and donate what you can. If you have nothing to give, still take what items you need. Any donation went towards keeping the place running.

“That’s just the way we worked,” explains Evans.

Evans says the building was not covered by insurance. Investigators have not released any more details on where or how they fire may have started.

“So, I’m thinking more than likely it was an accident. I mean it’s awful hard but whatever or whoever started it, I forgive them

Evans’ store may be gone for now but her generous heart is pushing her to keep looking for a new place with the same purpose.

“It’s hard because now I’m not going to be able to help, I’m the one that’s needing the help now,” explains Evans.

The Anderson Fire Chief tells FOX59, the weather continues to be a challenge for investigators.

If you’re interested in helping, you can donate to The Mercy Center’s account at Old National Bank.

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