Nfld. & Labrador

St. John's daycare 'absolutely devastated' by early morning fire, says parent

It's not clear how long the daycare will be out of commission, as parents like Roger Lewis make other arrangements for care of their children.

RNC investigators are looking into what caused the fire at Mother Hen's Daycare

The parking lot outside Mother Hen's Daycare on Ropewalk Lane is littered with kids clothes and toys after an early-morning fire Wednesday. (Sarah Smellie/CBC)

Parents of children attending a daycare on Ropewalk Lane in St. John's are finding other arrangements for their kids after a fire early Wednesday morning damaged the building. 

"I was the one that notified them this morning of the fire, the daycare, and they were absolutely devastated," said Roger Lewis, whose five-year-old daughter attends Mother Hen's Daycare. 

Emergency crews were called to Mother Hen's Daycare on Ropewalk Lane around 3:45 a.m., to find heavy smoke and flame coming from the business. 

Hours later, the soaking wet parking lot was littered with dolls, doll clothes, kids clothes, and other debris from Mother Hen's.

Roger Lewis has a five-year-old daughter who attends Mother Hen's Daycare. (CBC/Eddy Kennedy)

Around noon Wednesday, Lewis headed to the scene of the fire to survey the damage and talk to some of the staff.

He said his daughter has been going to the daycare for more than three years and even looked forward to going while her parents are on vacation.

"The daycare owners and workers go above and beyond what's required and what's necessary," Lewis said.

The daycare is in a strip mall, but St. John's Regional Fire Department platoon chief Chris Jefford said early Wednesday no other business was damaged by the fire, although they did have to break some windows in the adjacent building.

He said no one was hurt in the fire. 

Firefighters were called to Mother Hen's Daycare on Ropewalk Lane around 3:45 a.m. Wednesday. (Sarah Smellie/CBC)

The blackened inside of Mother Hen's Daycare was clearly visible from outside the establishment, and broken glass from the shattered front doors of the neighbouring businesses was still being removed Wednesday afternoon.

Lewis said he's fortunate to have family members able to look after his daughter right now, but his heart goes out to the displaced children and the employees who lost their jobs.

"As far as I know it's between eight and ten people that work there. So, it's more devastating for them than, I guess, the parents. They're currently out a job and they're currently looking for a new location," Lewis said.

The neighbouring businesses to Mother Hen's Daycare sustained damage as firefighters worked to contain the blaze. As the establishment is housed in a strip mall, there were concerns for the entire building. (CBC/Eddy Kennedy)

The owner and employees at the scene declined an interview with CBC News. 

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary said the fire is under investigation, but did not say whether the fire was being treated as suspicious. Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers.

Read more stories from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

 

with files from Sarah Smellie

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