By Wayne Allen
According to Salvation Army Portsmouth Corps, their donation located on the back side of their ninth street building was set on fire earlier this week, ruining the bin and its contents.
“It happened earlier this morning (Tuesday, July 23) during the dark hours. I guess someone must have called the (Portsmouth) fire department,” said Jeremiah Eisley, a leader of the Salvation Army Portsmouth Corps. “It turns out someone set a couch on fire and the fire spread onto the donation box.”
Eisley said the couch was set next to one of their busiest bins for donations.
“When people want to donate something typically they go to the source. They know where we are, so they will leave their donation at that bin,” Eisley said.
He said it’s not uncommon for the Salvation Army Portsmouth Corps to get broken into.
“Often times we will have people climb the fence and trying to take things that might be left out, like scrap metal. To supplement our funds we will often times have some scrap metal lying out back to taken to the scrap yard,” Eisley said. “Usually anything that might be left around a bin is taken. That’s why we stress to the community if it (donated item) does not fit in the bin, don’t leave it, bring it to us during our daily operations.”
Eisley said nobody was hurt and the damage was contained.
“We park our 12-passenger van right next to that bin, and it was not damaged,” Eisley said.
He said at the time of the fire there were donated clothes in the bin. He has been in contact with his bosses and the plan is to replace the bin, though it may not be in the same location.
“We apologize to anyone who may have donated in the last 24 hours (Monday into Tuesday) because those items were consumed in the fire,” Eisley said.”The bin it’s self is unusable, even if we got it painted up everything would smell like smoke.”
He said a bin that size will cost $800 to replace.
“We are asking the community to help the Salvation Army and put a stop to this (break-ins) . If anything seems suspicious or out of the ordinary when you drive by our building, do not hesitate to call the police,” Eisley said.
Eisley said their funds are tight but would like to eventually see security cameras installed.
“We need to feed and cloth people, that comes first. It (security cameras) would be beneficial not only for the safety of property, but to the safety of staff and volunteers,” Eisley said.
For more information about the Salvation Army Portsmouth Corps visit them on Facebook.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.