By Marlee Ginter

MODESTO (CBS13) – Lugging fire hoses while weighed down in heavy gear, firefighters from multiple agencies fought through thick smoke and flames to save a piece of their own community.

“Whenever you have this much disaster, it kind of puts a pit in your stomach but we’re here and we’re trying to do everything we can,” said Waterford Firefighter Byron Baker.

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Salvation Army workers rushed customers out of the Modesto thrift store Thursday afternoon when a warehouse in the back of the store suddenly caught fire.

“It hurts to see something like this happen because so many people depend on the Salvation Army,” said Captain Samuel Snyder with the Salvation Army Modesto Corps.

The warehouse stored donations to be sold in the thrift store. All that money goes back into the community through Salvation Army ministries, programs and their adult rehabilitation center.

“For people who have substance abuse problems and things like that, to help them get back into society. So this is a loss. This is a loss for us,” said Captain Snyder.

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And yet even with that loss, they managed to bring light as volunteers showed up with a truckload of drinks and stacks of pizza. It was enough to feed roughly 100 firefighters.

“It just helps. The longevity of the call, the night goes on and it gets later and it just helps keep the morale high. Give us something to talk about, drink and cool off,” said Baker.

“We’re so grateful to the firefighters and their quick response and for them risking their lives to save our building,” said Captain Snyder.

It’s a risk that got rewarded in a community that truly helps their own.

“We’ve learned that it’s always best to give than to receive. So the Salvation Army the way we work we’re always giving and we get blessed by giving,” said Captain Snyder.

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The thrift store fire is the latest in a string of setbacks for the local Salvation Army. Their men’s residence in Stockton recently caught fire and their downtown Modesto location flooded.  Still, they continue to do what the Salvation Army does: pick up and keep giving.  If you’d like to help them get back on their feet you can donate on their website.