Massive fire demolishes 12 trailers full of donations at Springs Goodwill distribution center

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 5:31 AM MDT|Updated: Oct. 25, 2021 at 10:38 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A dozen trailers full of donations were destroyed in an immense fire at a southeast Springs Goodwill outlet Monday morning.

Firefighters were called to the blaze just after 5 a.m.

“We got a report of a trailer that was on fire at the Goodwill [at Hancock and Academy],” said Colorado Springs Fire Department spokesperson Capt. Mike Smaldino. “We have a station that’s right up the street, and when they left the station they could see a glow in the air.”

By the time crews reached the scene, the flames had spread to more semi-trailers, mainly due to their close proximity in the parking lot, Smaldino said.

“In total, there are 26 trailers that are back there; 12 of them had fire in them at some point or are still on fire right now [at 7:15 a.m.]. ... They’re just all close to each other, so when one’s on fire, the fire as it gets outside the box just spreads to the next one.”

Sadly, those trailers were packed with clothing and furniture, Smaldino said.

“It sounds like they were all completely full. So what we’re doing, we’re working with Goodwill right now trying to get the uninvolved trailers out of there so we can kind of narrow it down and, start unfortunately, pulling out all that furniture and clothing that are in those trailers.”

Fire investigators and police are now looking into tips that someone was in the area when the fire ignited. A police sergeant tells 11 News one caller claimed that the fire was intentionally set.

“We’re working with police right now trying to figure out with witnesses, what they saw,” Smaldino said. “... They’re trailers that have been sitting out there, so we don’t know if there was any sort of ignition source that’s out there, so something that would have started it on fire.”

Adding to the calamity, this particular Goodwill is a retail support center, a hub for goods and materials that then get transported to Goodwills across the state. This was why so many trailers were on site.

“[It] opened in June 2014 and supports Goodwill’s statewide retail and donation center operations -- including a “Buy the Pound” outlet for bulk sale of clearance merchandise; fleet transportation and dispatch hub; donations collections, processing and distribution; recycling and salvage; and other essential operational support services,” a spokesperson for Goodwill Southern Colorado said.

The building itself was not directly damaged by the fire, but the outlet store and attended donation center are closed until further notice.

Between the flames and the water used to extinguish the blaze, very little if anything in the trailers is salvageable, Smaldino said.

“I would say it’s probably highly likely that 12 trailers are completely demolished.”

Watch more video from the firefight:

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