TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Donations from across the island have poured into a Catholic church in Hualien County’s Yuli Township for the last couple of days after its recycling site, a source of the church’s income, was heavily damaged by a sudden blaze on Saturday morning (Feb. 22).
In a video clip published on Monday (Feb. 24), Yves Moal, the 79-year-old father serving the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, expressed his gratitude for the donations that had come in the past 36 hours after people had learned of the fire. Half of the books collected there as well as a portion of the roof and interior of the tin garage have been consumed in the conflagration.
The recycling site was locked when the fire occurred on Saturday morning, according to the neighbors who called the fire station. The blaze was put out in 20 minutes after firefighters reached the site.
The fire could have started behind the garage, said Chen Li-ping (陳力平), the head of the fire department. However, the cause is still under investigation, he added.
The recycling site was founded by Moal, a French native who has acquired Taiwanese citizenship after having settled down on the island over half a century. The site has offered job opportunities to ex-convicts and minorities, and the income made from collecting recyclable furniture, appliances, and other objects has been allocated to the care of disabled people.
Speaking to CNA shortly after the fire, Moal said he was saddened by the incident but would remain strong. He estimated the site’s losses to be about NT$300,000 (US$9,843) to NT$400,000.
Moal said on Monday the donations would allow the church to renovate the site but did not reveal how much it had actually received. He said the church bank account had stopped accepting donations, encouraging people to give money to other charity groups.
The father said he would find ways to better protect the recycling site from fire in the future. However, this is not the first time for it to be engulfed in flame, as it has been set fire by man once before, according to the report.