One of Ann Arbor’s most popular places to buy second-hand soccer T-shirts and resale dishes lay in smoldering ashes last night after a fire destroyed the Ann Arbor PTO Thrift Shop on State Street.
The blaze was sparked when a lamp in the employee break room caught fire, store employees said. Several employees who were in the store when the fire broke out called 911, and Ann Arbor Fire Department trucks were at the scene by 6:30 p.m. According to AAFD Battalion Chief Mike French, no one was injured, but all the merchandise in the store was lost.
All of AAFD’s six engines responded to the scene, and 19 firefighters struggled to put out the flames. Twelve additional AAFD units were called to the scene.
Firefighters had the blaze under control in about an hour.
By about 10 p.m., street maintenance crews were using bulldozers to clear the collapsed roof out of the building’s charred shell so firefighters could extinguish any remaining hot spots.
Firemen expected to work throughout the night and into the morning to ensure the small spot fires buried under debris would be completely extinguished.
French said the owners have not yet determined the estimated financial loss from the fire, but said more information should be available today.
Police blocked off State Street from Stimson Street almost to Oakbrook Street so firefighters could stretch their water hose across the road to a water supply.
PTO employee Megan Hildebrandt, an art and design senior who has worked at PTO since February 2005, said because the store obtains its merchandise solely from donations, it might