[UPDATE] Structure Fire at Daycare Center

By: Pat Lightcap Email
By: Pat Lightcap Email

UPDATE 1/28/2011 at 10:00pm By Candace Sweat

Everyone is okay, but it's what caused the fire that has inspectors issuing words of warning to daycare operators everywhere.

"It was real scary and there's not time to panic. Especially when you have several other peoples' lives in your hand," said emplyee Natalie Farmer.

19 children were in Farmer's care when a fire broke out at the Little Dreamer's Day Care in Madison Thursday afternoon.

"We heard a loud pop and one of the kids said 'it's a fire in the bathroom! Fire in the bathroom!," said Farmer.

Fire inspectors determined that a faulty exhaust fan in the bathroom in ceiling was culprit.

"It's really important for the day care center itself to get up there and do house prevention and house cleaning at least once a month. What happens is that fan accumulates dust which makes that fan run overtime," said Madison Fire Inspector, Juan Williams.

All children and adults made it out safely by following an emergency plan. Michelle Thomas, whose three grandchildren attend the Day Care says she thankful for their quick action.

"Kids are just so helpless at this age at the day care center that they really just panic," said Thomas.

But that wasn't the case in Tallahassee back in 2008 at the Stepping Stones Day Care. It was the same scenario; a faulty exhaust fan in the bathroom. Only in this time one of the children, Grace Cen, didn't make it out alive.

Williams says the Little Dreamer's Day Care was scheduled for an annual inspection in March, but in light of Thursday's fire, they're doing the inspection on Monday.

Little Dreamer's is still open and running. He enocurages all day care centers to routinely clean those fans to avoid any trouble.
Madison, FL - On Thursday, January 27, 2011 shortly before 4:00 PM a structure fire was reported to the Madison County 911 Center. City of Madison Fire Units were dispatched to the Little Dreamer's Day Care located at the intersection of Dinkins and Range in downtown Madison.

An overheating exhaust fan in the ceiling of the bathroom was found to be the source of the smoke. All students and staff had safely evacuated the building and were at their pre-arranged meeting site across the street from the facility.

The faulty fan was removed and the smoke blown from the building by fire personnel.

The City of Madison Police Department and the Madison County Sheriff's Office assisted at the scene.

WCTV has included pictures as well.

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