A fire broke out at the Centre for Northern Families Daycare on Feb. 15 around noon, forcing staff to round up children and quickly exit the facility.

At the time, employees noticed smoke and a burning smell. They soon detected that the fire was coming from the upstairs bathroom. Then they noticed flames, said Renee Sanderson, executive director of Yellowknife Women’s Society (YKWS).

The door to the bathroom was quickly shut to prevent the fire from spreading.

Children were roused from their naps and everyone began to evacuate from the 54 Street building. No injuries occurred, according to Sanderson.

A neighbour who initially became aware of the smoke and aided in the evacuation provided a safe place for the staff and children to stay.

Sanderson expressed her appreciation for that individual’s quick action and thoughtfulness.

The Yellowknife Fire Division arrived minutes later and contained the blaze. In a press release Thursday afternoon, the city said firefighters extinguished the fire and were on scene for approximately 90 minutes. They kept the fire contained to a small area in the bathroom ceiling area and wall space.

No injuries were reported and the Office of the Fire Marshal is now investigating.

Due to the rapid emergency response, the building’s structure was preserved and only a portion of the daycare will need to be repaired and renovated, said Sanderson.

Clients of the facility were informed of the incident by email, letting them know that the service will be temporarily closed.

Raven’s Nest, another daycare under YKWS, is already running at maximum capacity, and, as of Thursday morning, Sanderson wasn’t sure where the alternative daycare location will be.

The cause of the fire is still unknown. Sanderson said she’s working closely with the fire department and the insurance company on the investigation and determining the cost of the damage.

Northern Disaster Services had arrived at the scene for fire watch and hazard control.

In the meantime, families who are clients of the facility are left with numerous details to sort out. One parent, who asked not to be identified, said he’s remaining optimistic, however.

“Nobody wants this to happen… I can only hope all the best for them and give them time (to recover), because it must had also caused a lot of pain for them too,” they said.

Kaicheng Xin

Kaicheng Xin is a Multimedia Journalist with NNSL Media. You can reach him at kaicheng.xin@nnsl.com

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