TWO 12-year-old boys are helping police with investigations into the suspected arson of a charity-run store in Cooroy.
The scorched shell of the wooden Queenslander - home to a Salvation Army Family Store - on Garnet St was all that remained after fire tore through the 80-year-old building late on Thursday night.
A couple of neighbours, the first to raise the alarm just before 7.30pm, reported seeing two teenagers fleeing the scene just before fire engulfed the premises.
The bright glare of the fire drew about 50 locals on to the street to watch five firefighting units battle the blaze for almost an hour. Garnet St resident Julia Duncan saw the fire from her home across the street.
"It was pretty fierce," Ms Duncan said. "I could feel the heat over here.
"The fire seemed to centre on the left-hand side, but then I could just see it going through the building and spreading into the roof."
The Salvation Army building was believed to date back to the 1920s and has had several uses throughout the years.
"Everyone knows the building," Ms Duncan said.
"I have photos of it in the background from when we moved here in the 1960s.
"It will certainly be missed by the community."
Cooroy Fire Service Auxiliary captain Dennis Bonnell said second-hand goods such as books, furniture and clothing had fuelled the fire, making the vicious blaze difficult for crews to control.
"The house was well involved when we got there," Mr Bonnell said.
"There were plenty of spectators standing on the other side of the road as we waited for back-up from Nambour and Pomona."
Fire crews acted quickly to bring the blaze under control before it spread to nearby buildings, which suffered only scorch marks.
Salvation Army Lieutenant David Sutcliffe said no decisions had been made whether to relocate to other premises in Cooroy.
He said it was still hard for volunteers to comprehend the store and everything inside was gone.
"We have between 12 and 20 volunteers and a number of them turned up this morning," Lt Sutcliffe said.
"They were just devastated.
"They give so much of themselves and put so much into the store and give back to the community that this is just crushing."
Lt Sutcliffe salvaged some goods stored below the building, but for the most part, the store has lost everything.
No charges had been laid last night.
Police have appealed for more witnesses to come forward.
Anyone with information should phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.