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Ocean City Food Pantry Destroyed In Fire Has Temporary Home

OCEAN CITY, Md. (WJZ) — After being destroyed in a bizarre and deadly Ocean City church fire, the Shepherd Crook’s Food Pantry has found a temporary home. The kind gesture comes just in time for the Christmas holiday.

Monique Griego has more on their new space.

The food pantry had been working out of a van since the fire, but now a local business has stepped up and offered them a free space.

Two days before Thanksgiving, St. Paul’s By-The-Sea Church, an Ocean City landmark, was destroyed by a bizarre double fatal fire.

It started after police say drifter John Sterner lit himself on fire and ran into the church. Sterner and beloved pastor David Dingwall died in the flames.

“I just can’t believe Pastor David Dingwall is gone. I just can’t believe it,” said Dana Truitt, who survived the fire.

Truitt, a church volunteer, narrowly survived the attack. She says Sterner–engulfed in flames–tried to grab her.

“He says…`You not getting out of here,'” she said. “I said, `Watch me’ and I knocked him and I got out.”

As she recovers from severe burns to her head, neck and arm, a bit of good news is coming out of the rubble.

Shepherd’s Crook Pantry, which lost its place at the church because of the damage, has a new temporary home on the city’s Boardwalk at Conner’s Beach Cafe. The cafe is letting the food pantry operate from its space while it’s closed for the winter season.

Truitt, who’s spent the past few weeks recovering at Bayview Medical Center, has previously said how much the food bank meant to her during a time of need.

“When I got a job and found a place to live, I wanted to help back so I started volunteering down there because I like helping people,” she said.

The space allows the food pantry to keep serving the community with food and clothes through what can be harsh winter months.

Truitt is scheduled to have another skin surgery Tuesday. While she does have a long road to recovery, she is hoping to go home soon.

A fund has been set up to cover medical expenses. Click here to donate.

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