BAYOU LA BATRE, Ala. (WKRG) — An official with the state fire marshal’s office will likely be in Bayou la Batre today following an apparent arson fire at a former homeless shelter in south Mobile County. Fire Chief John Wiggins said it happened Friday evening during at the Christ N Us Ministry shelter. He says employees at the Pizza Hut across the street spotted the fire, called it in and even helped put it out. Wiggins said it appears the fire was intentionally set.
Lynn and Freddie Harbison, who run the ministry, said the fire and vandalism damaged a door, some windows, chairs, and other items. They say whoever did it also unplugged freezers allowing food inside to melt and rot.
It’s another setback for a charity that’s been working in south Mobile County for a number of years. In early 2018 the shelter was a hub of activity keeping people warm during a severe cold snap. Later that year the shelter was forced to close due to what was considered unsafe conditions in the event of a fire. They had been raising money to reopen since then and they say they continue outreach in other ways like their thrift store across the street. Christ N Us Ministry is accepting donations via their gofundme account.