MESQUITE (CBSDFW.COM) – When you drop your children off at daycare, you think that they will remain safe. But what happened Wednesday afternoon in Mesquite still has dozens of parents shaken up, and searching for a new place to take their kids on Thursday.
It was about 4:00 p.m. when a massive fire broke out at Appleseed Academy. The cause of the fire is still not known. Images of the damage are incredible and the building is a total loss, but there have been no reports of any injuries. Close to 100 students and teachers managed to escape the flames.
Witnesses said that it only took a few minutes before the building became engulfed.
The daycare posted a notice about the fire online, and asked parents to come pick up their children. That was a scary moment for mother Lynora New, who was still at work. “I dropped my pen, I looked at my co-workers, and I said, “Got to go, my kid’s daycare is on fire,” and I just ran out the building,” New said.
“I was in panic mode,” added parent Altrice Brisco. “I had to look at the text twice.”
Amaya Turnbull was a student at Appleseed Academy. She recalled what it was like to be that close to the blaze. “I saw smoke and pieces of backpacks flying into the fire, and like, fire coming up,” she said behind tears, before thanking the firefighters for helping out. “Thank you, and God bless you.”
Appleseed Academy had been serving children as early as infancy and pre-kindergarten. The building was just inspected at the end of March and no violations were reported. Fire officials are continuing to investigate on Thursday to determine how such a fire could have started.
Juan Andrade had just picked up his 3-year-old daughter on Wednesday afternoon and left the daycare when his wife called to tell him about the fire. “It was hard to believe,” he said. His little girl is struggling with the news. “She was crying all morning, because she wanted to come over to the school, the teachers.”
Daycare owner Barbara Kilpatrick said on Facebook that she will start looking for a temporary location right away. Kilpatrick credited her attentive students and teachers, along with regular fire drills, for making sure that this situation resulted in a safe outcome for all.
Meanwhile, parents are singing praises of the school, happy to have found a place that really loves kids and was able to protect them during a dangerous time. Many have vowed to follow Appleseed Academy to any new location that the daycare may open in the future.
“I really like this school,” said Brisco. “Wherever they do open up, my daughter will be there.”
“We’ll try to come back and support the school,” said Andrade. “Anything we can do for them, we’re here to help.”
Leticia Reyes agreed. “We’re sticking with Appleseed!”