Church survives suspicious Coodanup blaze

A CHURCH located next door to an op shop survived the blaze that terrified Steerforth Road residents last night.

Unfortunately the house next door, which was being used as an op shop, was not so lucky.

Fire crews were called to the Church of the Way in Coodanup after 7pm.

The op shop sustained $500,000 in damage.

More than 35 fire-fighters from Rockingham, Mandurah and Falcon battled for an hour to get the blaze under control. It was put out completely by 9.30pm.

Nearby residents John and Pearly said they heard explosions coming 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 noises and “just ran toward the scene”.

Other neighbours said they heard children running away after the shop caught fire.

The fire is being treated as suspicious and 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 today 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 this Facebook page