Possible arson burns down nonprofit for adults with special needs

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SHAWNEE, Okla. (KFOR) — Authorities are investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed a non-profit work center for adults with special needs. 

“We came back to work Monday after another 14 day quarantine and then I had to call them and say we can’t come back to work Tuesday because it’s burned,” Carole Jones, the director of F7 Work Activity Center, told News 4. 

Jones is talking about a fire at the center early Tuesday morning. 

The flames burned the storage facility to the ground and destroyed the inside of the center. 

“I’m devastated. We’re all just gutted by this,” Jones said. 

F7 is a non-profit where adults with special needs recycle cardboard, aluminum cans and shred paper. 

“They call this place home. It’s where they go everyday. It’s their social environment. They interact with the other clients, their friends,” John Klaser, President of the F7 Parents and Guardians Association, said. 

F7 has dealt with devastation twice over the past two weeks. 

First, Jones said a fire broke out in a truck used to haul paper to the center. 

“It was put on fire, obviously. There’s nothing in there that’s flammable. I mean flammable paper wise, but not as far as something that would be a combustible thing,” she said. 

Jones believes it’s the same story with the latest fire. She said investigators told her the cause is likely arson. 

However, fire officials told News 4 they can’t confirm the cause at this time. 

“I mean, all of us are just kind of in a state of shock. It’s just one of those things where we know it’s real, but it’s hard to imagine that it’s real,” Jones said. 

Fire officials told News 4 there should be more information available regarding the cause of the fire sometime early next week. 

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