A CHURCH located next to an op-shop survived a blaze that terrified Steerforth Avenue residents on Sunday night.
Unfortunately the house next door, which was being used as an op-shop, was not so lucky.
Seven fire crews were called to the Church of the Way in Coodanup after 7pm. About 35 firefighters, from Falcon, Mandurah, Rockingham and Murdoch had the fire under control within half an hour and extinguished by 9.35pm.
The estimated damage bill was $500,000.
Nearby residents John and Pearly said they heard explosions from the building as it burned.
Pearly said they had lived in the area for 20 years and had become increasingly frustrated with antisocial behaviour.
She said she grabbed their dog when they heard the noises and ran toward the scene.
Other neighbours said they heard children running away after the shop caught fire.
The fire is being treated as suspicious. Arson police are investigating.
The op-shop had been helping members of the community for many years. One woman described the people who worked there as a “blessing”.
A group called Church of the Way (Coodanup) Supporters was set up on Facebook on Monday morning to help rebuild the ministry and op-shop.
Taz Jones wrote that she set up the group to help with a “collection of donations for rebuilding”.
“I myself have been fortunate enough to get support from them in my time of need and this is my way of putting back into the community,” she said. “Please let’s get behind it and support this worthwhile outreach.”
She is collecting clothes, non-perishable food and vouchers via the group.