Emergency crews responded to a fire that broke out in Too Good To Be Threw early Sunday morning.
The fire is believed to have started in the downtown Courtenay thrift store between midnight and 1 a.m., with multiple witnesses reporting seeing smoke and flames inside the building.
Comox Valley RCMP are at the scene and a cause of the fire is still under investigation. The building and back alley are currently blocked off.
According to an RCMP member at the scene, there were no injuries and neighbouring buildings were not damaged by fire. However, the door of AIDS Vancouver Island, located beside Too Good To Be Threw on 6th Street, was smashed for fire crews to gain access.
The thrift shop is operated by the Comox Valley Transition Society and all profits go towards supporting their programs and services.
Heather Ney, executive director of the CVTS, says she was out of town when she found out about the fire. Back in Courtenay on Sunday morning, she says she still knows very little about what happened and has not been allowed on the property due to safety concerns.
“I’m a little bit in shock,” said Ney. “It’s an important business to the community but it’s also a very important business to the transition society as it sustains a lot of our programs that we provide.”
Ney says the thrift store brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to support women’s and men’s services like Amethyst House, Lilli House and counseling programs.
“There’s not really any program that it doesn’t contribute to,” she said, adding that the employees and customers are also going to be heavily impacted.
“It provides some good employment and benefits for people which are going to be impacted… It’s a place for social connection for a lot of people too. And for others, it’s a way of supporting the work that the transition society does.”
Ney says she has been blown away by the outpouring of support from the community within hours of the fire and is very grateful for the messages they have received. The fourth annual Coldest Night of the Year Walk will be held on Feb. 23 and Ney says as their biggest fundraiser of the year, they will be relying on the event to raise money for the society.
“I’m not sure what the future’s going to look like,” she said. “I mean we’re certainly not going to be open in the foreseeable future. I don’t even know what foreseeable future means. We’ll be back but I don’t know when.”
A request for comment has been sent to the Courtenay Fire Department and Comox Valley RCMP. The story will be updated when more information is available.