Ocilla daycare owner expects to reopen after fire

Ocilla daycare owner expects to reopen after fire


A community is coming together to help the owner of a daycare in Ocilla after flames tore through it early Tuesday morning.

Firefighters say a relative of Children's World of Ocilla owner Linda Morrell spotted smoke billowing from a door when he came to open the center around 4 a.m.

"He came in to get breakfast started and to be there for the early drop-offs," said friend Reggie Miller. "He was there and he opened the door and the smoke was there, so he called 911."

Once the flames were out, firefighters from Ocilla, Ben Hill County, and Irwin County spent the morning monitoring the daycare and putting out hot spots. Fire officials said the damage is extensive, but that it can be repaired.

"It was a lot of flames and a lot of smoke," said Sgt. Will Towson with Ocilla Fire and Rescue.

"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," added Miller. "We do anticipate that she will be able to renovate and repair."

Investigators are working to find out how the fire started.

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 to 30 students.

"It will probably be shut down for a while. They'll have to find other means of places to go," said Sgt. Towson.

Friends, family and community members say they'll do anything to help the owner rebuild and restart the business on Oak Street.

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