There was so much water on
The nonprofit's administrative assistant,
An email sent out to foundation supporters described what took place as a "fire ... set by an arsonist." On Tuesday morning,
James said investigators also found no evidence that something in the building ignited the fire.
On Tuesday, yellow tape blocked off a back entrance to the facility and insurance adjusters took photos of the damage. Volunteers, summoned by the email, brought undamaged furniture taken out for clean-up back inside. They spread soaked rugs in the sun and planned to start moving charred mattresses and sopping office equipment, children's books and debris from the damaged rooms. Also lost: boxes of new baby clothes donated for Christmas.
Just five months ago, foundation supporters celebrated a ribbon-cutting to mark the first phase of what is to be a regional home for pregnant women with no place to go.
Two homes in
At the ribbon cutting in early May, supporters and community members got a chance to see nine overhauled rooms on the third floor, including seven furnished and decorated bedrooms for moms and their babies.
"Praise be the third floor was not damaged at all," Harris said.
James expects insurance will cover the damage to the building. It is unlikely to replace items like mattresses, chairs and baby clothing.
But he and others involved in the foundation were counting their blessings. Residents initially planned to move into the rooms in July, but that was pushed back to get the building's fire suppression system in order.
Clearly, he said, it works. Otherwise, the fire could have climbed into the second and third floors and potentially destroyed a quarter of the building.
James expects the fire could delay the facility's opening by a month or so, pushing it into next year.
He and Harris both recalled three calls in as many days from expectant mothers living in their cars. That didn't include others who said they were living with abusive partners or parents who no longer wanted them there.
"We used to get three to five calls a week," Harris said. "Now we get that many per day."
(c)2016 The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Va.)
Visit The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Va.) at www.fredericksburg.com/flshome
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