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Op shop ruined by arson attack
Guildford People Who Care manager Steve Johnston at the fire damaged shop. Picture: Bill Hatto/The West Australian

The manager of a fire-ravaged Guildford op shop says an arsonist has disadvantaged the disadvantaged in “an act of sheer stupidity.”

At about 2.40am yesterday, a lounge was set alight outside the head office of People Who Care on James Street.

It sparked a blaze that tore through the op shop at the front of the premises and left the office space smelling of smoke.

Fire crews worked quickly to contain the fire, but could not stop it causing more than $20,000 damage.

Manager Steve Johnson was reviewing security footage yesterday in the hope the culprit was caught on camera.

He said it would be weeks before the op shop could reopen.

“The clothing, bedding, furnishings, baby clothes - pretty much everything is ruined,” he said.

“If it’s a targeted act then it’s an act of sheer stupidity.

“The people who use our op shop are people who are disadvantaged or from a low-socioeconomic background.”

While the op shop took the brunt of the blaze, Mr Johnson said the impact was more widespread.

“Part of the building is a day care facility for our elderly clients, so now we’re having to reschedule or cancel,” he said.

“The workers here are a very dedicated group of people, it’s disappointing for them.”

People Who Care is a Perth-based not-for-profit organisation serving the frail aged and disabled.

The volunteers help people with special needs maintain their sense of independence.