Pasadena nonprofit to continue services despite fire

PASADENA — Despite an electrical fire that destroyed the community center of a Pasadena nonprofit organization, the group plans to continue with its normal activities, including after-school youth programs, Monday, officials said.
The massive fire early Saturday at the facility belonging to Neighbors Acting Together or Helping All, 456. E. Montana Street, gutted the structure and destroyed all of its contents, according to Pasadena police and fire officials.
An investigation determined the fire was accidental, sparked by an electrical problem, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
The nonprofit organization runs a variety of programs designed to benefit the local community,
But coincidentally, NATHA recently leased another space on the same corner at 2011 Lincoln Avenue, NATHA Managing Director Celestine Walker said. The organization was in the process of preparing that new space to be used in place of the destroyed structure.
“We will actually continue our programs on Monday with the young people that come to our after school programs,” Walker said.
“That’s our biggest concern is that there’s no disconnect between us and the people who depend on us every day,” she said.
The community center was also used for purposes such as hosting community meeting or town halls, and is also used by other area organizations, Walker explained.
The newly acquired space is, “smaller, but adequate,” Walker said. “We’re very pleased that we have additional space.
NATHA has already received an outpouring of support from concerned community members, Walker said.
“We certainly want to thank the community for all their communications to us and their willingness to help,” she said.
The organization expected to rebuild the community center, Walker said, however further planning will be carried out in the coming weeks.
The fire caused an estimated $1.75 million worth of damage to the community center, officials said.
Firefighters responded to a fire alarm at the community center shortly after 5 a.m. when they found the building already engulfed in flames, Derderian said.
Due to the apparent instability of the burning structure, firefighters took a defensive stance and poured water on the fire from an outside perimeter, she added. The flames were extinguished in about 45 minutes.

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