OCILLA, GA (WALB) - Firefighters from three departments battled a raging blaze at an Ocilla daycare early Tuesday morning, and finally got it under control.
Ocilla Police say the Children's World of Ocilla daycare in the 600 block of North Oak Street caught fire around 6:00 a.m.
The Ben Hill County fire department, Irwin County Fire Department and Ocilla Fire Department are battling the blaze. Firefighters say a relative of owner Linda Morrell spotted smoke billowing from a door when he came to open the center around four o'clock this morning. "He came in to get breakfast started and to be there for the early drop offs. He was there and he opened the door and the smoke was there, so he called 911," said Ocilla city council member and friend, Reggie Miller.
Once the flames were snuffed out, firefighters from Ocilla, Ben Hill County and Irwin County spent the morning monitoring the daycare and putting out hot spots. Fire officials say the damage is extensive but that it can be repaired.
"It was a lot of flames and a lot of smoke. The north portion of the building, about a third of the way up is damaged, but for the most part, it's a lot of smoke. we do anticipate that she will be able to renovate and repair," said Ocilla firefighter Sgt. Will Towson.
The cause of the fire is at the moment unknown but investigators are working to find out how it started.
Now, Morell is left deciding how to quickly get the daycare, which has been located at the former high school for more than 20 years, back up and running for 20-30 students.
"It will probably be shut down for a while. They'll have to find other means of places to go," said Miller.
So, Friends, family and community members say they'll do anything to help the owner rebuild and restart the business right here.