More than $1M worth of food wasted as fire destroys food distribution trailer in SeaTac

In SeaTac, more than $1 million worth of donated food is now a total loss after an early Friday morning fire.

The fire happened underneath a refrigerated trailer outside the Praisealujah Food Distribution Center. The center distributes free food for families and charities throughout Washington, feeding thousands of people on a daily basis.

“I’m devastated because it’s just like, what are we gonna do?” said Pastor Kelly Crow.

Pastor Kelly founded Praisealujah 16 years ago and said the fire will have a profound impact on the community. In addition to the loss of the refrigerated trailer, he says food for more than a thousand families was inside. The food, containing meat, produce, and dairy products, was unsalvageable due to smoke damage.

Puget Sound Fire determined that the fire was “accidental,” and believes it was caused by a homeless person trying to keep warm or heat food.

“Unfortunately, when it’s cold outside, people who don’t have anywhere to go are going to do whatever’s possible to survive,” says Pat Pawlak with Puget Sound Fire.

The fire reached the trailer’s diesel tank and caused an explosion.

The person believed to have set the fire ran away before fire crews arrived.

Pastor Kelly said he’s thankful no one was hurt. He also said he isn’t angry at the person responsible, but that the organization doesn’t have the money to replace the trailer. Without it, the center will be forced to reduce their food donations indefinitely.

“I know people don’t like to say it, but I will say it. We need help!” said Pastor Kelly.

Pastor Kelly is hoping that people will donate their time or money if they’re able, so that the center can resume helping as many people as possible.

Paul Meyer runs the food warehouse for Praisealujah. Like Pastor Kelly, he also remains hopeful that people will donate, but said they’ll continue to help as much as they can in the interim. Praisealujah is still working to provide non-perishable and non-refrigerated items, as well as face masks, for those who need them.

“Obviously we can’t stop doing good. We’re going to try to do as much as we can, but [we] just need a little bit of help,” said Meyer.


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