Jesse Evans, Editor | Hempstead Herald

While a fire at a local daycare Friday evening decimated one of the structures, firefighters were able to contain the fire and save the second structure that sits only a few feet away.

The north building at Kids-R-Us Daycare on South Hervey St in Hope caught fire Friday evening. According to owner Tonya Collins, she and the last of her employees had cleared out of the business at about 5:30 p.m.

Hope Fire and Police Departments were dispatched to the scene around 6 p.m. and arrived quickly on scene. Sergeant Oller arrived on scene and reported to dispatch that the north building at the daycare was was ablaze.

Three pumper trucks from the fire department responded to the scene and the firefighters quickly dismounted, geared up and pulled hoses to start fighting the blaze. Hope Police Officers blocked off the road to traffic to keep the scene clear and prevent fire hoses from being run over. A crew from Pafford EMS also responded to be on-hand in case any firefighters or bystanders were injured during the fire.

The building, in the 1300 block of South Hervey, was billowing heavy smoke from the attic and fire had already burned through the northwest wall when firefighters began to attack. the group then entered the building and began putting water on it from the entry room. Another group went to the south side of the building and started working to prevent the fire spreading to the south building that was less than 6 feet away.  The fire was already in the attic of the building and began to burn through the structure’s roof.

Hope Water & Light and CenterPoint Energy responded to the scene to shut off electricity and gas to the structure. The lineman from Hope Water & Light was able to disconnect the electricity but the fire was already on the gas meter and was unable to be shut off. Police moved the growing crowd of spectators back away from the scene as a safety precaution after they were informed that there was a potential for the gas meter to explode. CenterPoint advised that if the meter did blow they would have to bring in a crew to dig up the line away from the building and shut of the flow of natural gas.

Firefighters fought to keep the fire contained with a limited water supply. There were two fire hydrants nearby but they were both on the same 8″ water main. This caused the firefighters to occasionally shut down the deck gun on top of one of the pumpers while pressure built back up.

The fire continued to consume more and more of the structure and increasingly threatened the adjacent structure. After almost two hours fighting the fire, the thick black and brown smoke had been reduced to light white and gray smoke and 20 foot flames had given way to smaller, isolated fires and cinders. While the adjacent structure suffered some external damage from the heat, firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading into the remaining daycare building.

The fire was comfortably under control around 8 p.m. but firefighters remained on scene putting out remaining hot spots and insuring the fire did not have the chance to rekindle and begin threatening the remaining structure and neighboring house.

Tonya Collins, the 25 year owner of Kids-R-Us, and many of her employees were on scene watching as the building burned. Tonya was thankful for the job firefighter did in saving her second building but upset beyond words at the destruction of her building which housed her office and was where their preschool and older age children were taken care of. The southern structure saved by firefighters is where they took care of infants and toddlers.

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