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Valley Feeding Project, Morning Star Ministries building burns down

Valley Feeding fire July 29, 2021
Valley Feeding fire July 29, 2021
Posted at 8:00 PM, Jul 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-29 23:00:14-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Late Wednesday night, a fire erupted at the building that Valley Feeding Project and Morning Star Ministries share. All that is left is the outside concrete walls, everything behind the wooden boards is rubble.

Crews do not know what caused the fire, but 23ABC spoke to some passing customers who said they are shocked.
Valley Feeding Project customers Gary and Meg Sundberg drove by Thursday afternoon to look at the burned building.

“It’s sad because the people were so nice here and the deals were astronomical,” said Gary.

Valley Feeding Project co-directors Julie and Stephen Walsh say the organizations provided food for people who couldn’t afford groceries.

“I think we’re in a little shock,” said Julie. “We had just gotten chips in, a 53-foot truck full of chips so it’s devastating it really is.”

Besides those chips, they also had at least 20 freezers full of food that is now gone. The couple said they received a call from the alarm company around 1 am Thursday about what happened.

“The roof is gone, everything inside is gone, the roof is still there so it’s like a fireplace,” said Stephen.

Kevin Albertson, with the Bakersfield Fire Department, said the building has significant damage. The arson division is actively investigating the fire which is just the latest in building fires around the city.

“Since June 1 of this year, we’ve had 109/110 fires in the city of Bakersfield. That is just structure fires,” said Albertson.

As for the Walsh’s, they have their suspicions. They’ve had previous instances of crime in the area.

“We don’t know, Morning Star had a truck back there too so we don’t know if they tried to steal the truck because their truck had been stolen a couple of weeks ago," said Julie

With that damage, the couple is desperate for warehouse space.

“We have a big truck coming in tomorrow,” said Julie “Warehouse space right now is what we need and walk-ins to put our cold food in and a place to serve the people who come.”