Forensic crews sift through St Vinnies thrift shop in Fernvale yesterday morning after vandals torched it.
Forensic crews sift through St Vinnies thrift shop in Fernvale yesterday morning after vandals torched it.

Staff shocked by St Vinnies arson

A NEWLY opened St Vincent de Paul thrift store has been torched by arsonists, leaving a trail of devastation.

Volunteers of the Fernvale store arrived yesterday morning shocked to find it gutted by fire, with thousands of donated goods destroyed.

Early investigations suggest offenders gained access to the shop by smashing through a glass window at the front of the building before starting a fire in the rear of the store.

One St Vinnies volunteer, who arrived at the store ready to start work, broke down in tears when confronted with the mess.

“This is just awful. I can't believe someone would do this, especially to a charity shop,” the woman said.

“It's a real shock.

“It's hard to believe this would happen in downtown Fernvale.”

The St Vinnies store only opened its doors at the Woolworths Shopping Complex, just off the Brisbane Valley Highway, two weeks ago.

Thousands of dollars worth of furniture, clothing, bric-a-brac and household items was destroyed in the blaze.

“It's absolutely awful. Why would someone do this? We are a charity shop that helps the community,” a St Vinnies volunteer said.

Witnesses raised the alarm that the building was alight shortly after 11pm on Wednesday.

Firefighters were able to stop the fire from spreading to an adjoining chemist and newsagency, however both shops received significant water damage.

A police spokesman said investigations into the cause of the fire were continuing.

A possible suspect was questioned by police yesterday morning but no charges had been laid yesterday.

Onlookers walking past the extensively damaged St Vinnies store were shocked, one heard muttering they couldn't believe “something so sinister can happen in our quiet country town”.

Some residents, unaware of what had happened, brought boxes full of donations only to be turned away.

The scene was guarded by forensic police officers last night, with investigations expected to continue throughout today.



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