The manager of a Pittsfield Salvation Army hopes to re-open her store within the next two weeks. This after last week's arson ruined just about all of the store's inventory, water-logging carpets and leaving a store so many depend on in shambles. Our Brandon Walker has more.
PITTSFIELD, Mass -- Sally Lebarron remembers walking into her store hours after it all happened.
"It was substantial water damage and smoke damage," Lebarron, Salvation Army manager said.
One week later, the soot has been swept up, shelving units removed, and the Salvation Army store on Dalton Avenue forced to start anew.
"We had to get rid of everything in here. All the clothing was a loss because the smoke and the chemicals get in the clothing," Lebarron said.
That's after Pittsfield Police said Jason Welsh, 21, Steven Gratton, 24, and James Ledbetter, 26, set four fires to the building, which houses multiple businesses. They allegedly broke into a few of them, stealing cars while they were at it.
Smoke filled the Salvation Army, blanketing all the store's inventory. In all, the landlord tells YNN more than $150 dollars in damage was caused to the entire complex.
The loss boils down to, "five week's worth. Five week's worth of merchandise," said Lebarron.
The goal is to have the store ready to go and cleaned up within the next two weeks, but being closed that long has an effect on not only the employees-- who aren't being paid-- but a community now forced to go without its Salvation Army.
"You know, we have a number of regular customers and families that come in here every week," Lebarron said.
That loss lingers. The arson came at a time where donations are short to begin with. But despite this, Lebarron says she and her staff are hopeful.
"We're happy to be able to still serve the community," she said.
Meanwhile, the next court date for the three defendants is March 19th.