On Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, at 5:50 a.m., Firefighters were called to Working Wardrobes’ 22,000-square-foot headquarters at 1851 Kettering St. in Irvine. It was several hours before firefighters could access the building. Everything has been destroyed by this fire.
“We are absolutely devastated by this catastrophic loss, the heart of our operations is gone and so is 30 years of history,” said Jerri Rosen, Founder and CEO, after the fire. “We are grateful and relieved to report that no one was hurt or in the building at the time of the fire. Now our job is to get back on our feet so we can serve our clients very quickly and we aim to do just that with the help of our remarkable community.”
We are determined to work with our employees, volunteers and the Orange County community to rebuild and continue to fulfill our purpose of helping men, women, young adults and veterans overcome difficult challenges so they can achieve the dignity of work.
“I don’t know if there’s any way to put into words a reaction when you see 30 years of your life and your labor and your love up in flames. I think it’s actually surreal. And yet, what moves us is we know we have to get into action. We have lives that are depending on the work we do.” said CEO/Founder Jerri Rosen as she vowed the organization will find a new home and rebuild. “I thought this would be the year of great celebration,” she said. “And it will be, once we find a new and permanent home.”
Working Wardrobes will NOT be canceling any of its previously scheduled events for 2020. “It is our 30th Anniversary year and we will continue to be a cause to celebrate!” said Jerri Rosen.
Statement of Facts
Approximately 100 firefighters were at the scene, OCFA Public Information Officer Capt. Tony Bommarito was onsite. No injuries were reported. Working Wardrobes has been in this 22,000-square-foot building since 2016
Everything has been destroyed, including:
Donation Center: Large warehouse filled with racks, bins, and boxes filled with thousands of donations. Including jackets, pants, shirts, blouses, ties, shoes, jewelry and additional accessories, as well as housewares, office and cleaning supplies.
Wardrobing Center: filled with quality clothing and accessories for men and women in a department like setting.
Career Center: Computer labs where clients worked to research and apply for jobs online, training rooms and IT computer lab. Plus, the VetNet team and program for veterans, SCSEP program for seniors, all client services for women, men, young adults, and all wardrobing services.
Corporate Office: Entire operations of Working Wardrobes
OCFA spokesman Tony Bommarito said firefighters initially pulled back because of the intense heat and smoke. “It was too dangerous, this is a super-challenging fire investigation because of the amount of damage. You have the entire roof laying on everything that burned below.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Orange County Fire Authority investigators estimate the loss of the 22,000-square-feet building in the 1800 block of Kettering Street at $10 million and $2 million for its contents, according to OCFA Captain Tony Bommarito.