Sunday morning, the Amarillo Fire Department battled a fire at Family Support Services located at 10th & Polk in downtown Amarillo. The building also houses the Veterans Resource Center.
“Crews arrived on scene shortly before 4 am. The fire has been contained to the north end of the strip of connected buildings.
"AFD has taken a defensive posture on this fire - battling the fire from the exterior of the structure. The roof has collapsed on the Family Support Services building.
"Crews battling the fire have focused their efforts on preventing extension of the fire to the connecting building," Captain Kyle Joy of the Amarillo Fire Department said.
Joy said firefighters will remain at the location throughout the afternoon.
The Amarillo Fire Marshal’s Office requested assistance from the State Fire Marshals Office to investigate the cause of the fire. The fire has been ruled accidental with damages estimated at $800,000.
“There were no injuries at this incident. AFD crews did an amazing job of preventing the fire from extending into newly remodeled structures that share a common wall with the structure that was lost in the fire - preventing the dollar loss from being much higher," Joy said.
Family Support Services posted a brief statement on Facebook.
"At approximately 4 am today, we received word of a fire at our main offices and Veterans Resource Center. The Amarillo Fire Dept. continues to work to save our structure and we are grateful to them.
"No one was in the building. We are already working to secure places where we can serve our clients.
"Our agency is the staff, Board, and volunteers all devoted to those who need us. Thank you for your prayers and support as we move forward. We will post more information as it becomes available," the FSS posted on Facebook.
Family Support Services says the building’s phone system is down at the time, but there is an emergency line for the Crisis Hotline. For domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking calls, you can call (806) 654-7979.
Jim Womack, CEO of Family Support Services, issued the following statement:
"This is one of the hardest posts I’ve ever had to write. At the same time, it is one of the most hopeful.
"At approx.: 3:30 am this morning, the Family Support Services main office building in downtown Amarillo caught fire. Although the Amarillo Fire Department fought it for hours, our Veterans Resource Center, our Behavioral Health and Wellness Department, our Crisis Services Department, and our Education and Prevention Department have all been completely destroyed by the fire.
"We are so thankful that all of our staff and our Safe House residents are safe, and that the many firefighters and officers who responded to the fire are all safe.
"I am not someone who cries much. But I want to tell you that I have been brought to tears several times today by the generous support of our friends, our partner agencies, and our community. Several non-profits and businesses have contacted us to offer us temporary office space, and we are already working to ensure that we are back up and running as quickly as possible so that the people we serve will be impacted as little as possible.
"We will soon have donation accounts set up at area banks to help us rebuild; please follow our Facebook page for updates and to learn how you can help.
"We have lost so much. But we are so much more than the building we were in. We are Educators, Counselors, Advocates, Veterans… We are people who care about what happens to the people in our community and we will not let this stop us. Again, I appreciate you all so much.
"I truly believe that we will rise from these ashes and come out of this stronger than ever."