Salvation Army shelter reopens after fire

Saturday, February 2, 2019

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The Salvation Army Center of Hope is back open after a fire forced the shelter to evacuate last Friday. News 12 was at the shelter as they opened their doors.

It's hard to believe this all happened so quickly -- after contractors told the Salvation Army it might take four weeks to four months to repair electrical damage. But the Center of Hope is aging -- and might not last much longer.

A week and a day have come and gone since Captain Phillip Canning showed us where the fire on Friday originated. You could see a charred panel box, dark hallways, and bins filled with water from the sprinklers at the Center of Hope. Across town about a mile, hundreds of cots lined the walls of the Kroc Center. That's where more than 170 people stayed while crews fixed the damage.

But on Saturday, it was a different story.

"There we go...one week of work," said Captain Canning, pointing to the new panel box.

With the new panel box came a new sense of confidence for the Salvation Army team.

"They feel comfortable coming here and that we know we're gonna work in their best interest all the time and that we're gonna be there for them in times of crisis," said Captain Canning.

People lined the back entrance of the Center of Hope , hopeful of what's to come, but never forgetting what they've been through.

"You get familiar with the place and it feels like home," said Captain Canning. "You just feel more relaxed and more comfortable. You get back into your routine and into your swing,"

While the fire showed the Salvation Army what they're capable of, it also revealed a problem. The Center of Hope is more than 50 years old they're long overdue for a new building.

"I'm sure we'll be pursuing that in the near future," said Captain Canning.

With no idea of when that'll come to fruition, if nothing more Captain Canning says the fire proved The Salvation Army is called an army -- for a reason
"We're not gonna leave them stranded and out there but we are gonna stand by their side and see them through this," said Canning.

Leaders say they were focused on getting back into the Center of Hope first, but they will be getting the ball rolling on a new shelter building soon.