Day care fire quickly extinguished - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Day care fire quickly extinguished

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ROCKY FACE, GA (WRCB) - There were some scary moments for children and daycare workers when their building caught fire Wednesday morning. It happened at the Mill Creek Daycare Center in Rocky Face.  Firefighters say a power surge probably sparked the fire, after the electricity was knocked out during Tuesday night's storms.  

Firefighters are praising the daycare owner and teachers for evacuating the children quickly, while the daycare workers are praising the firefighters for their quick response. All say the situation could have been much worse.

"I walked to down to my house, to check on my house to make sure the power was back on there. The teacher calls me and says, 'The building's on fire!'"

Charred papers and boxes sit outside Mill Creek Daycare Center in Rocky Face. As owner Sheila Woods mops water from the floor, she is thankful she is not sifting through ashes instead.

"Well, I think our fax machine is toast. But aside from that, we're okay," says Woods.

Woods says it was not long after the power came back on from the overnight storms, one of her teachers smelled smoke in the building, then saw the office wall on fire.

"They just gathered the children up, grabbed their records, checked the bathrooms and had the children outside already," says Woods.

Woods cut power to the building. As she pulled out the fire extinguisher, Whitfield County fire fighters showed up to help knock out the rest of the flames.

"The staff here did an excellent job, handling their emergency evacuation plan. They got all 18 children out quickly and accounted for," says Whitfield County Fire Chief Ed O'Brien.

"Without the quick action of my teachers and the fire department, it could have been much worse. But it wasn't," says Woods.

It is a sentiment echoed by parents and loved ones who rushed to pick up their little ones.

"I'm so glad they knew what they were doing, got the kids out as quickly as possible," says one child's aunt. "Because it could have been much worse that what it was and I'm so glad that it wasn't because that would have been really bad!"

"The children are absolutely everything! They're wonderful. They're sweet. They're great. And that's the most important thing in the world," says Woods.

Words from a woman who has spent the past 30 years caring for children.

"If you work with children, you're used to surprises," says Woods.

Woods says the center does monthly fire drills with the children. She says after some new dry wall and paint, the center will be back open Thursday.
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