UPDATE: A building that meant hope and opportunity for Charleston’s most vulnerable is now a pile of rubble. The fire is being ruled as arson.

“It’s very sad because people who relied upon this yet again have another obstacle and there’s so many challenges right now,” said Executive Director Manna Meal, Amy Wolfe. “Unfortunately, this was a source of clothing. It was a source of hope for so many people and now it’s gone.”

The fire happened just after 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night at the Covenant House Opportunity Shoppe on Quarrier St.

According to Charleston Fire Chief Shawn Wanner, the fire began when two homeless people got into a fight causing one of them to allegedly set a nearby tent on fire, which then caught the building on fire.

Firefighters battled the cold, spreading salt as temperatures caused the water to almost immediately freeze on the ground. The flames spread quickly, making it a total loss.

“It’s like, I’m still in shock,” said Wolfe. “It’s devastating. I’ve never experienced anything like this. Devastating is just the word that keeps coming to mind and it’s kind of hard to even wrap my mind around it, even though I’m literally standing right here in front of it.”

Wolfe said the loss of the facility is devastating because so many people rely on it. She said moving forward they aren’t sure what they will do with the building, but they will make sure people have what they need no matter what.

KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Charleston Fire says a thrift shop is a total loss following a large fire overnight in the city.

The fire took place at a thrift shop beside St. John’s Church on the 1100 block of Quarrier Street just after 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Fire crews say that the building is a total loss and that investigators are interviewing witnesses to determine the cause. According to some witnesses at the scene, the initial flames were intentionally set by a homeless person trying to burn another homeless person’s tent.

Crews say there may have been someone who went to the hospital from the scene prior to the arrival of the fire crews with CAMC being only a few blocks away.

Brutally cold temperatures made battling the fire extra difficult, with crews having to lay salt down with water freezing on the ground so fast.