MESQUITE (CBSDFW.COM) – Close to 100 students and teachers are safe Wednesday night after escaping a massive fire that destroyed a daycare academy.
The fire first broke out shortly after 4:00 p.m. at the Appleseed Academy in Mesquite.
“I saw smoke and pieces of backpacks flying into the fire and like fire coming up,” said Amaya Turnbull, a student at the academy.
Turnbull said as she and her classmates ran to safety, she could only think of her parents.
“Scared that they don’t know what’s happening to me,” said Turnbull.
Her concern quickly shifted to the brave men and women who were trying to extinguish the flames.
“Thank you and god bless you,” said Turnbull.
The emotion was equally felt by parents who at first did not know if their child was safe.
“That was the scariest part,” said Lynora New, a parent. “I dropped my pen I looked at my coworkers and I said got to go. My kids’ daycare is on fire and I just ran out the building.”
New’s daughters, Hannah and Sarah, and at least more than 70 other students and teachers escaped without a scratch.
“I even cried because I was worried about my stuff, my homework inside of there and my backpack because my teacher is probably going to get mad at me now,” said Hannah New.
Owner Barbara Kilpatrick credits her attentive students, staff and their fire drills.
“That’s something that we practice for,” said Kilpatrick. “That’s something that we do every month.”
Kilpatrick lost everything but was more concerned about her kids as she stood outside the charred remains of her building.
“I’m devastated that they don’t have a place to go to school tomorrow,” said Kilpatrick. “So we’ll have to figure out something very quickly.”
Parents said it is an minor concern compared to what could have been a devastating night.
“The good thing is, is that y’all are okay,” said Lynora New to her daughters. “That’s the best thing, that everyone’s okay.”
Firefighters are still investigating what sparked the flames.
Records show Appleseed Academy was last inspected in March and showed no issues.
Thick black smoke could be seen for miles around 4:30 p.m.
As Chopper 11 got closer, it was clear the roof collapsed and the building was destroyed.
By 4:50 p.m. the flames were mostly knocked down and the fire was under control.
Police moved the people who were inside the daycare to the church at the corner of Tripp and Franklin. That’s where parents were able to pick up their children.