Anniversary Soon Of Story Book Daycare Fire

The anniversary looms for one of the largest fires in recent memory in the Town of Essex.

The early morning fire at the Story Book Early Learning Centre destroyed the Arthur Avenue building causing $750,000 in damage.

Fire crews from Essex, Lakeshore and Kingsville were involved in fighting the flames January 7, 2017.

Executive Director Donna Hedrick says it was a shock getting the call.

"Wow, that definitely puts you in high gear. Pandemonium I guess, and then to pull up in front was just absolutely bone chilling really. I don't even know how to describe it"

She says it's been a challenging year.

"To operate a program and then still be dealing with all of the challenges of, you know, insurance and tieing up a lot of loose ends," says Hedrick, "and really building up from ground zero because we didn't have one piece of documentation. We had nothing, nothing."


The aftermath of the fire at the Story Book Early Learning Centre at 26 Arthur Ave. in Essex Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017 (Photo courtesy of Robbie Shepley)

Hedrick says community support for their re-opening was unbelievable.

"We sure did that with a lot of help from a lot of people really from the community and community at large," says Hedrick, "people came from miles away like Waterloo and delivering things."

The daycare was able to find space in an unused public school in the town and had the doors re-opened in two weeks.

Hedrick says it was a blessing the fire happened early in the morning before any children arrived and there were no injuries.

The investigation into the cause listed the fire as undetermined because damage was too extreme to identify the trigger of the flames.