Fire Rips Through The Youth Opportunities Center - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Fire Rips Through The Youth Opportunities Center

A popular Texoma youth center is picking up the pieces.  A fire ripped through the Youth Opportunities Center this weekend in Wichita Falls.

The building was saved, but suffered significant smoke damage.  The smell of smoke and ash is still very strong and shards of glass remain from Saturday's fire.

The fire was caused by a boiling pot that was left unattended on the stove.  There is not much damage on the outside, but picking up the pieces to this unfortunate incident is another fork in the road for this youth center.

At 7a.m. on Saturday the Wichita Falls Fire Department put out that kitchen fire. Dorthy Hennan lives across the street and she was woken up by all the commotion.

Dorthy said on Saturdays morning she looked out her sliding doors and saw red lights flashing. She said there were fire trucks everywhere.

The Wichita Falls Fire Department was able to put out the fire but the flames destroyed the kitchen.  The rest of the building suffered significant smoke damage and firefighters also had to break windows in order to let the building ventilate.

Brenda Jarrett, Director of the Youth Opportunities Center is trying to look on the bright side of things.  Brenda said "The kitchen is totally destroyed by the fire. We are very fortunate, it could be worse, the whole building could be gone."

The Youth Opportunities Center has been serving the community for the past 17 years.  The non-profit's goal is to inspire and motivate youth through the arts, music, and fitness.

The Youth Opportunities Center solely relies on donations and grants to operate. In recent years the organization has struggled to keep its doors open to the community. 

Despite the fire Brenda says the center will continue to move forward.   

Staff members say they used the kitchen to help bring in extra money and were hoping to turn it into a restaurant in the future.

Brenda Jarrett says she would like to see the community "pay it forward."  She says the center needs the community's help right now more than ever.

The Youth Opportunities Center still plans to hold wrestling and boxing lessons this summer.  Those lessons will still be held in the facility.

Wichita Falls Fire Marshal David Collins estimates the fire damage between $30,000 to $40,000.

Natalie Garcia,  Newschannel 6 

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