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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Day care using Washington Elementary after fire

  • Kids Come First day care in McPherson is using Washington Elementary School as a temporary location following a structure fire June 14.
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  • Kids Come First day care in McPherson is using Washington Elementary School as a temporary location following a structure fire June 14.
    Shandi Swaim, director, said staff members first saw flames in an electric oven. It was soon unplugged, but smoke was still coming from the ceiling and filling the kitchen with smoke. All children, about 70, were safely evacuated from the building and relocated to a building next door.
    The fire was out by the time firefighters arrived, but the smoke had damaged a significant amount of the attic. Swaim said investigators came Friday, but a source of the fire has not yet been determined.
    The day care’s building interior must be cleaned and renovated before staff and children can return.
    The estimated return date is Aug. 2.
    During the USD 418 Board of Education meeting Monday, Associated Superintendent Chris Ruder informed the board that the district had been in contact with the day care, as well as state fire marshals, health inspectors and the Board of Public Utilities. An agreement was reached once approval was received from those entities.
    Kids Come First began officially meeting at Washington Elementary Monday. This location was chosen because of its Head Start area, which is designed for use with smaller children.
    “It’s been crazy, but the kids have done well,” Swaim said of the transition. “We’ve just made it a big field trip. Everybody’s been pretty supportive.”
    A cost of $13,651 was determined for use of the facility, which includes kitchen use, custodial staff and air conditioning.
    “Things are going well,” Ruder said after observing the children at their new location. “The kids seemed happy so (the staff was) happy. We were very grateful we could help them out for the next six weeks and think it could be really good for the community and our district.”

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