Day Care Teacher Puts Out Fire, Loses Job

Readers — This deennadssn
is so bizarre, I have to share it so I don’t explode:

While kids were napping at a Florida day care center last week, their teacher smelled smoke and went to investigate. Sure enough, she says, some chicken nuggets had caught fire in the oven. She tried to put it out but when the fire alarm went off, she ran back to get the kids out of the building. After a second check for kids, she went back to the kitchen, saw the fire was small, and put it out.

The owner of the center fired her for leaving the kids alone for the few minutes she went to the kitchen.

Now, the obvious point of this is: Duh — would the owner prefer a roomful of crisply fried children? But the point Free-Range Kids is this:

Since when does leaving kids alone for a minute or two constitute grave endangerment?

Part of the message we are here to spread is that kids are NOT in constant danger. Yet somehow our society has become convinced that even the safest circumstances are somehow so UNsafe that they require all our attention all the time. That’s why the the post below this one concerns a mom fined for letting her 6-year-old walk two blocks. The cop’s assumption  was the same as the day care owner’s : Kids alone for even an instant are kids in DANGER.

Until we stop hallucinating horrors, we will continue to fine, fire and criminalize loving adults making rational decisions that involve NOT standing right on top of the kids every instant. Zero tolerance for unsupervised children is as ill-advised as all the other zero tolerance out there. And it comes from the same place: Overestimating the danger in everyday life. – L

Don’t investigate the smell of smoke?

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74 Responses to Day Care Teacher Puts Out Fire, Loses Job

  1. Gary July 24, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    the comments are FAR more entertaining than the story…

  2. SKL July 24, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    I suspect this has more to do with state law than the boss’s view of danger to the children. They are not allowed to have this happen. Knowing this, I’d be asking: who was cooking the nuggets and where was that person when the fire started? It seems the teacher should have alerted someone who was not watching kids to go check it out. If that was not possible – or if it was that teacher cooking the nuggets in the first place – there might be a problem.

    When my kids were in daycare, during nap times, often they had one teacher sitting in the doorway between two rooms so that another one could go get a coffee or something. Or they would sit together and play cards in the doorway.

    I’m sure it’s boring to sit around while all the kids are napping, and the temptation to leave the class is probably strong. But the law says what it says. If that’s a problem, change the law.

  3. Katie July 24, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    If it’s as stated, it does seem ridiculous.

    However, reading the comments on the original site (including those written by the fired employee-who by the way seems to be quite rude-not a great skill when dealing with people), it sounds like perhaps they wanted to fire her anyway and this is just gives them a good excuse.

  4. Renee Anne July 24, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    It probably was a combination of state daycare regulations, corporate daycare rules (if there’s a couple centers and it appears that there may be more than one), and an employee that they wanted to get rid of and needed an excuse to do so.

  5. Papilio July 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    Keep breathing, Lenore! Don’t let terrorism win 😉

    But what a bizarre story, indeed. From what I understood she brought those kids outside, where they were watched by her colleagues – so when were they alone, then?

    (And since when is it normal to give little tots chicken nuggets for lunch instead of a slice of bread with something reasonably healthy on it?)

  6. Warren July 24, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    The lawyers are not going to be happy, as it seems their clients are arguing it out in the comments section.

    Looks like they want a sacrificial lamb, and this teacher seems outspoken, not something Ms. Olga seems to like…….so easy choice. They fired her and will spin it to look however they want.

  7. Are we there yet? July 24, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    She should have let the building burn down?

  8. pentamom July 24, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    It’s hard to judge — she may be being rude because she’s irritated at people calling her a liar. Or she may be just a rude person. Or she may not be telling the story straight.

  9. Papilio July 24, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    She was just fired over something stupid, who wouldn’t be angry…

  10. Krystal July 24, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    Just saw this story, and almost sent it straight to you–but thought you might have already posted it! You’re on top of it, Lenore.

    What crazy world are we living in that you cannot leave the room? A litigious one. Those types of misguided rules are designed to cover one’s a** (i.e. the daycare) from the sue-happy world of today–and it’s beyond unfortunate. Congrats to the teacher for doing the right thing–I hope others will be happy to hire her.

  11. Tomas July 24, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    Liability and licensing rules at work. My first thought was, who was cooking the chicken nuggets – was he (it would seem to be the owner’s husband) regulatorily allowed to be and prepare foods there? Is the owner protecting her husband by creating a fall guy, er, gal? Employing whom may have been inconvenient in some other way anyway?

  12. SKL July 24, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    It seems to me that it would have been safer to leave the oven shut and let the fire department come vs. open it and try to put out the fire herself. A free-range kid would have known that fire is fed by oxygen. 🙂

    I’m guessing (from the comments and my own BS-meter readout) that she was cooking the nuggets and hoped to cover her arse. Should not have been cooking nuggets when she was supposed to be watching kids. Chances are this was not the first time she ever left the room during nap. It is also only her word that she got the kids out before trying to put out the fire. Now that’s a big deal. You get the kids out first if there’s a fire.

  13. Eve July 24, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    Or we can just think back to the Our Lady of Angels fire in Chicago in which 92 kids died because their teachers told them to stay put. Common sense first, people.

  14. Michelle July 24, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

    I actually asked our daycare what they would do if a teacher did this, without giving them the outcome. Colorado btw has a lot of insane and OMG regulations. The 2 directors looked at me and said “be really happy she got the kids out and warned other classrooms.”

    I think this plays into the whole common sense thing. Just because you can’t leave the kids alone, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t if a higher need (ie. smelling smoke) arises. Daycare owner is a jerk.

  15. Jeff July 24, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

    Not sure what age group this was, but like others have said, it was probably a licensing issue, which austensibly turns into a liability issue. If something goes wrong, you can always say “I followed regs to a T, so I’m in the clear.”

    I worked at the day care center at the university I attended, so I know how tight licensing regulations are. If she was in an infant room, it probably has to do with SIDS or suffocation or other crib-related incidents. If it was older children, it is probably more general liability issues that cover nothing specific or in any way likely.

    But like others said, the comments in the main story make me wonder if the article is correctly relaying the event.

  16. Ben July 24, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    If the daycare worker caused the fire, then the owner should man up and admit that is the reason she’s getting fired. If not, she should be applauded for moving the kids to a safe location and tackling that fire and safe the building. In these hard economic times, the building burning down would almost certainly have put the owner out of business. A bit of gratitude would be appropriate.

  17. SKL July 24, 2013 at 7:14 pm #

    If what she said is true, the alarm went off, the FD was on its way, and she took the kids outside. In that case nobody needed her to go back and put out the fire. I don’t think it was such an awesome thing to do. Now if there were kids in there and she was actually saving lives by doing that, then fine. But risking her butt to go in and save material things? No way. I’m sure the place was insured. And she knew it was just a little fire contained to an oven – again, if she’s telling the truth.

  18. Jodie July 24, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

    I don’t know about the fined mom, but as for the owner firing her employee at the day care, people are so suit happy these days that she’s looking out for the business’s best interests. I don’t agree with it; of course the woman needed to investigate the smoke and put the fire out. But from the owner’s perspective, if overly protective parents find out their kid was left alone, they’ll sue her for everything she has. The other side to the argument is that if the fire had gotten out of control and any of the children had died, the owner would still have been sued for child endangerment and wrongful death. The owner can’t win either way and did the only thing parents would accept. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the world we live in today; overly protective parents, lawsuit hungry people and employers afraid of being on the short end of the lawsuit.

  19. Katie July 24, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

    @pentamom She was commenting on the original story on the news sight and her story kept changing…which makes me inclined not to believe her.

  20. Jodie July 24, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    I forgot about the FD being on the way. My reaction to that part was one of a mom who would rather have her child be left alone for a few minutes and been saved from a fire than left with a teacher and been killed, along with the teacher and others, in the fire. As far as I can see, it’s really a no win situation for the owner and the workers any way you look at it, unfortunately.

    from a fire

  21. k scott July 24, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    I just shared this story with my husband and he said, “Seems to me like they should name the place after her, rather than fire her!”


  22. Natalie July 24, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

    Reminds me of that florida lifeguard (hey, florida again!) that got fired for trying to save someone from drowning.–abc-news-topstories.html

  23. Beverly July 24, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

    What I couldn’t help thinking while reading this is the chicken nuggets are doing more harm to children than this obviously competent daycare worker. As a doctor, I can attest that the general health of young people due to overeating and lack of physical activity is the greatest threat they face. Parents vastly underestimate the threat, as the effects are insidious. Thank you Free Range Kids, for helping point out the irony that keeping kids “safe” every moment now makes them unprepared for unsafe scenerios–and sick–in the long run!

  24. SKL July 24, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    No, if this was a chicken nugget burning in a closed oven, that’s a little different from massive flames leaping up and down the hallways.

    Besides, I’ve always been taught that the first thing you do in a fire is GET EVERYONE OUT, especially the kids. That’s why the teachers aren’t supposed to leave the kids in the first place. How is it better that this woman decided to play hero, and in her ignorance turned a small, contained fire into something big enough to set off the fire alarm, while her kids were sleeping in the classroom without her? What if she had burned or trapped herself in the process? Then she would not have been able to help the kids.

    Kids in a fire usually run and hide (indoors). What if some of her kids got scared and ran into some closet or bathroom without anyone knowing where they went, because she wasn’t there to see? Then it would have taken longer to find all the kids and get them out of there quickly. In a serious fire, kids could have been killed that way.

    This person’s actions showed a severe lack of judgment on many levels. You don’t play hero when you’re in charge of the safety of children. If she had only gone to see the source of the smoke and then alerted her coworkers, called the FD, and returned to get her kids out, then I would probably be on her side to some extent. (Though I am still very iffy about the facts leading up to the fire in the first place – it looks like she left her station to go cook the nuggets in the first place, which she says is the norm there, but she sounds like a bit of a loon, so I don’t know.)

  25. Nic July 24, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    I am not sure firing her is the only option, but she has a regulated duty of care to children, and not her own children. If she had another staff member to leave the children with whilst she dealt with the fire that would have been a different matter.

  26. pentamom July 24, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

    SKL, it says she got the kids out BEFORE she went back and put out the fire. And that she made another sweep first to make sure no kids were left, that’s why she went back in.

    So apparently she left the kids after getting them out, probably into a fenced area. She didn’t leave them in the building to go put out the fire.

  27. CrazyCatLady July 24, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

    If I were a working parent relying on this place, I would be very happy that the worker put out the fire. Had there been damage to the building, the place would have been shut down indefinitely, leaving me without a place for my child or children. Potentially leaving me with loosing my job when I had to care for my kids instead of going to work. There would have to be all sorts of inspections before the place could be reopened – both by local inspectors for electrical, the health department, and probably the state agency that regulates day cares.

    The owner on the other hand, probably would get insurance coverage for her losses. And a vacation of sorts.

  28. Warren July 24, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

    I don’t care what rules you want, have or whatever. If you can easily put a fire out, you damn well do it. You do not leave it to spread, thus causing firefighters to risk injury or life to put out a serious blaze, that someone could have put out, before.

    If you are not willing, and capable to grab a fire extinguisher, and put out a small kitchen fire, you have no right to be charged with the safety of kids.

  29. SKL July 24, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

    Pentamom, the way I read it, she first tried to put out the fire when she discovered it, until it set off the fire alarm. Then she went and got the kids out. Then she went back to check for more kids (she says) and decided that the fire was still small enough that she could put it out (she says). I assume that if the alarm had not gone off, she would have kept fiddling with the fire and never evacuated the kids.

    One of the comments indicated that she threw water on the fire. I mean, seriously, this was a chicken nugget that caught fire in an oven. Anyone with a brain would have simply left the oven door shut and turned off the oven. There is no way a burning chicken nugget inside a closed oven is going to create a conflagration. Come on. The most dangerous thing was her going in there and feeding the fire oxygen and throwing water on it and who knows what else. It wasn’t her job and I would not have been pleased if I were her boss, or if she were my nanny and did that in my house.

  30. SKL July 24, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

    And she is blaming the owner’s husband for having had the oven temperature at 500,and for the fact that a nugget was on the bottom of the oven. Because she didn’t have enough sense to look at the settings and at the bottom of the oven before heating up her lunch? I mean this woman is an idiot. Why would I want her in charge of my kids?

  31. Gina July 24, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

    Hmm…I’m actually mixed on this one. As a preschool teacher and a parent…
    I originally read that the kids were napping. If this is the case, were my young child in that room, I would want an adult in there to make sure s/he got out safely. Yes, it was just burning chicken, but what if she had discovered a HUGE fire and she couldn’t get back to the room? State law in Arizona says that children in a daycare situation may NEVER be out of “visible supervision by an adult”. In a daycare situation with very young kids, I don’t really have a problem with that. It’s not the same thing as leaving your own child outside to play.
    Also, she must have had a phone in her classroom. Why didn’t she call up front to let them know she smelled smoke? An administrative person could have checked it out or set a fire drill.
    I think in this situation, her responsibility was to make sure her children were safe. If the builiding burned, so be it, as long as the kids got out safely.

  32. nancey July 25, 2013 at 3:13 am #

    What are the regulations regarding smoke? A caretaker is in a room with sleeping toddlers and infants. She smells smoke. Her natural Is to check out the situation. As Leonore says, is the worst really likely to happen if she steps out for a minute? Is she supposed to just stay in the room and hope that someone else is taking care of the situation? A fire could get much worse if no one is aware of it.

  33. SKL July 25, 2013 at 7:36 am #

    Nancey, normally they have a phone in their classroom. They could call a colleague who isn’t minding kids, or call the FD from there. What if it was a big fire and the teacher got separated from the kids and unable to get back? The teacher needs to be with the kids to help them get out. These were toddlers.

    But again, checking and coming right back would have been understandable. That’s not what she did. She decided to Fight the Flaming Nugget while her kids were unattended. Not OK.

  34. Donna July 25, 2013 at 8:03 am #

    “I’ve always been taught that the first thing you do in a fire is GET EVERYONE OUT, especially the kids.”

    It was a chicken nugget on fire in the bottom of the oven!!!!! There is no need to treat this as if half the building is engulfed in flames. I see no reason to evacuate a building and call the fire department for an extremely minor kitchen fire just because kids are present. If we did that, the fire department would have time for nothing else. I’d be fairly pissed of my office burnt down because the fire department is over at the Johnson’s putting out a chicken nugget.

    She smelled smoke, checked it out, saw a very minor fire and did what any normal human being on the planet would do – attempted to put it out before panicking a bunch of cranky kids and bothering the fire department. At the point that the fire alarm went off, she returned to her classroom, woke the kids and took them out. Her fire-fighting skills may need brushing up, but otherwise appeared to do everything just as I would want done.

    “Because she didn’t have enough sense to look at the settings and at the bottom of the oven before heating up her lunch?”

    Really? You check the bottom of the oven every time you cook something just in case someone was inconsiderate by spilling something and not cleaning it up? And any resulting fire is your fault for not checking and not the fault of the person who actually spilled the item and didn’t bother to clean it up? Interesting logic there. Let’s blame the person who trusted that others would clean up their messes if they made them and not the person who actually made the mess and didn’t clean it up.

    I’d normally agree on the temp but it appears that, if she was cooking at all (there does seem to be a dispute on this), she was just reheating something the owner’s husband had just cooked for the kids’ lunch. She likely didn’t have the packaging and simply went with where the oven was set, having last been used to cook that exact same thing. The slightly high temperature (nuggets are generally cooked at 425-450) didn’t cause the fire. The nugget on the bottom of the stove caused the fire.

  35. Donna July 25, 2013 at 8:18 am #

    “She decided to Fight the Flaming Nugget while her kids were unattended. Not OK.”

    Why is that not OK? She knew the kids were in no danger from the fire – or anything else since they were all asleep – at that moment and a fire left unattended could put them in danger. I suppose there is a slight possibility that something in the kitchen could have exploded from the Flaming Nugget causing a major fire before she returned to the classroom, thus leaving the children unattended in a dangerous position, but that is pushing to the far end of the borders of worst-first thinking.

    There is a lot of assuming that there is a substantial amount of “administration” around at this time. I’ve been in daycares with a lot of administration and daycares with virtually none. It is nice that you’ve decided without ever stepping foot in this place that it is clearly one with lots of administration around to handle things and that said administration must have been present and available (ie not in another classroom for some reason) at that very moment. I’ve also been in daycares with phones in classrooms and daycares without. Same sentiment.

  36. Natalie July 25, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    I think we’ve got some Internet flaming going on….

    That day care director sure sounds like a chicken in the face of regulations…

    Eh? Eh? Nobody?

    okay, I’ll just go back to my corner.

  37. pentamom July 25, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    Good ones, Natalie. 🙂

  38. Natalie July 25, 2013 at 9:34 am #

    Don’t encourage me. The puns can get MUCH worse.

  39. Natalie July 25, 2013 at 9:41 am #


  40. SKL July 25, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    Donna, yes, I check the bottom of the oven because it is not very unusual for things to fall to the bottom. If I fail to check, it is my fault, not someone else’s. But it isn’t a big deal, because the fire goes out on its own when I shut the door and turn off the heat.

    What you’d do in your own home is not the point here. You don’t have a roomful of other people’s toddlers there. You don’t have a specific narrow list of responsibilities for which you are paid. You don’t have a detailed state law to follow.

    The fact is that this woman left her post multiple times (which is against the law), started a fire, and then was stupid about the way she responded to the fire. The fact that she left her post is the easy thing to fire her for because it’s an undisputed fact and a violation of law. I would have fired her for her stupidity, but that might be harder to prove in the court of public opinion. I don’t know how she got the media to help her turn this tiny contained smoking chicken nugget into a massive fire and her into the hero of the day, but I hope people are smart enough to sort out the facts as the sensationalist reactions die down.

  41. SKL July 25, 2013 at 10:29 am #

    What if the headline of the news story had read “childcare worker who left kids unsupervised and started fire demands reinstatement”?

  42. SKL July 25, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    As for whether the FD should have been called, no, if the fire alarm did not go off because it wasn’t just a contained smoldering nugget, then the FD need not have been called. And if she would have just shut the oven door and shut off the heat, maybe the alarm would not have gone off. But the fact is that it did, and therefore there was no choice about evacuating the kids, because this is a daycare, not my kitchen.

    I agree that this particular incident did not appear to put anyone in danger. However, it is dangerous to employ a documented idiot rulebreaker and leave her alone with children. This time it was a smoking nugget, but next time it might be something really dangerous, and she has proven herself incompetent to handle an emergency IMO. Business owners have a right to assess their risks and hire and fire accordingly.

  43. Donna July 25, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    @SKL – Exactly where was the “massive fire” here? I’ve seen nothing in the press that said anything about this being more than a small kitchen fire that happens every single day in homes, restaurants, daycares and anyplace else where there are kitchens. Hot appliances and things that can burn sometimes go wonky.

    Further, I wouldn’t say that she started a fire. At worst, someone – who was not her – left a chicken nugget on the bottom of the oven and a fire started when she turned on the stove (possibly although she disputes that allegation and it was not made by the daycare center). Stuff happens, even in daycares. To blame her for someone else’s carelessness in dropping a chicken nugget is ridiculous.

    I’d be annoyed if I got a cranky kid home from daycare because the entire daycare was woken from naps and tromped outside for a burning chicken nugget before someone tried to put it out. I’d be extremely pissed to see my tax dollars going to “an emergency” at a daycare that involved a chicken nugget on fire without someone bothering to try to put the damn thing out themselves.

  44. Donna July 25, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    SKL – Well then I guess that I’m just a stupid idiot who should not have children and should never be allowed near children in your opinion because I’d have tried to do something to put out the chicken nugget too. I’m not going to let in smolder in the stove because I don’t want to smell smoke and burnt chicken nugget for the rest of the day. And eventually the smoke detector would go off and we would all be tromping outside anyway. Yes, even if I worked in a daycare.

  45. Natalie July 25, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    Donna, you wouldn’t be able to work in a daycare. The state accreditation rules and regulations would drive you batty.

    Oh, wait.

    You’re a lawyer, you deal with that anyway.

    My daughter’s teacher told me that one of the rules was stated in such a way that if the kids went to wash their hands after a meal and one of the kids didn’t for whatever reason, ALL the kids had to go back and wash their hands. She said that some rules can be very disruptive to the day.

  46. SKL July 25, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    Donna, the implication that the daycare fired a hero who put out a fire implies that she saved the daycare and its inhabitants from a grave danger.

    Even if you and I don’t agree on the facts and fault of how the chicken nugget came to be burning, the fact is that she was cooking lunch for herself, and that means leaving the kids at least twice even if there had been no fire. Which is in violation of the rules and is not in any way heroic.

    The fact that she doesn’t apparently know how to safely use an oven doesn’t sit well with me, either.

    And to your point, why did it take her two tries to put out a smoking nugget? Well because she doesn’t understand the basics of how to deal with a fire. If there’s a fire in a building and you don’t have a clue about firefighting, and the kids are out and the FD is on its way, why would you go back in there?

    Sigh. I really don’t know why this isn’t obvious to more people.

  47. LRH July 25, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    WHO CARES if the children are left alone for a bit? It’s the law, you say? Then the law needs to be changed or, dare I say it, ignored.

    Really. Leaving a child alone during a nap? Heck, when I watched our kids, I sometimes went outside while the kids napped. I wasn’t even in the house itself, much less in the same room. What’s the point?

    Maybe we need to get the government out of daycare altogether if this is how they’re going to be about it.

    Or do like I did with our son–in his infant days, I had a person for pay watch him who did nothing else, who wasn’t licensed nor needed to be, and who answered only to me and her conscience as to what was acceptable, and she did a fine job of it too. If she wanted a drop-side crib–okay. If she wanted to take a stroll on her own property while my son was asleep–fine. If he had been older & wanted to play outside alone for awhile, she’d been able to do so if she & I felt okay about it (he was too young at the time by a long shot).

    Because, in that wonderful environment, there was no government scrutiny, no ridiculous regulations in play. She & I were the law.

    It’s the only way to go if you ask me, if you’re lucky enough to find such a person.


  48. Donna July 25, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    SKL – I don’t get the going back in there part. Once the fire department is on the way, you may as well give them something to do. I don’t know why she made that choice, but that is also not why she why she was fired.

    I don’t see a single indication that she doesn’t know how to use the oven. She doesn’t anal-retentively check that there are no uncleaned spills made by other people every time she uses an oven, but that describes the vast majority of people I know, including some who work in daycares.

    As for cooking, that allegation was made by a commenter to the article and not any official statement. It may be true. It may not be. I put very little stock in any comment to an article. Afterall everyone here is so sure there is a phone and lots of administration without the slightest evidence that either statement is true. The owner simply stated that she was fired for leaving her classroom. If it is certain that she was cooking her lunch, all she would have needed to stay to end this entire discussion is she fired her for leaving the classroom to cook her lunch.

    I do agree with one of the other commenters – good employees are not fired for things like this so there were probably other reasons to want to fire this person and this was just used as easy validation and it bit them in the butt.

  49. Donna July 25, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    SKL – Maybe she went back in because didn’t want the fire to damage the building because a fire burning down the building means that she doesn’t have a job anymore. At this point the children were safely outside and attended by another individual. I’d probably do the same for a small fire in my office. Why not? Unlike her, I am not going to be completely out of work if my office burns but I do have a large number of personal items in there that I would like to stop from being destroyed. I’m not necessarily going to sit back wringing my hands while an easily extinguished fire is going in the kitchen that may become damaging before the fire department gets there.

    Again, we are talking about a minor kitchen fire. She didn’t stupidly run into a building fully aflame. She put out a small kitchen fire.

    And since she did successfully put the fire out within a very short time of being back in the building, I guess she DOES know something about fighting fires.

  50. Sharon July 25, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    My day care provider used to leave her kids age 0-5 downstairs while she made lunch upstairs. She strapped the under 1 crowd in their car seats and told the biggest kids they were in charge and shown how to pick up the car seats and take the babies outside if a fire happened and how to call 911 to report a fire or other emergency.
    My daughter never had to move a car seat or call 911 but she knows how to both even today.

    Five years later my daughter gets on the bus and the “baby” gets on to start kindergarten. My daughter was glad to see him but a little sad when she had to report to him to a teacher. He broke his bad habit and they were friends again.

  51. Warren July 25, 2013 at 2:04 pm #


    1. There is no guarantee that a fire in an oven will burn itself out. None whatsoever.
    2. If you are willing to allow a fire, that you could put out, spread just so firefighters can risk injury or death, then you are one cowardly excuse for a human.
    3. Was this an electric or gas appliance? If it was gas, and you leave the fire, then you could be looking at catastrophic results.
    4. How would you like to explain to parents or spouses of firefighters that their kid or spouse died because you wouldn’t leave kids napping to check something out. If you have any soul, that would haunt your for the rest of your life.
    5. Finally if this is the way things are going to be, the state can save a helluva bunch off there budget by removing fire extinguishers from all their buildings. Just the annual inspections, and replacement costs alone would be a huge savings.

  52. SKL July 25, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    Donna, we keep going back and forth here. Either it was a tiny little burning chicken nugget that was not creating a danger, OR she had reason to believe the building would burn down in minutes. The article indicated that the fire department got there within five minutes of the alarm going off, and in between that time, she supposedly evacuated a roomful of sleeping toddlers. (Now I’m beginning to wonder if she left that to her co-workers and they covered for her, but who knows?)

    If she really thought the building was going to burn down without her completely untrained butt going back in there, then I want to know exactly what was going on with that nuclear chicken nugget. Did she fling it into a pile of paper garbage on the first go-round? How could it have gotten big enough to burn the whole school down? I don’t believe that at all. I think the “fire” started small and stayed small. The alarm went off because of the smoke and that was when her chance to prevent a Big Incident ended.

  53. SKL July 25, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    Warren, I will try to ignore your silly comments and simply note that there is no indication that this woman used a fire extinguisher. Had she used one, the fire would have been out almost instantly, on the first try. Her mom said she threw water at the fire.

    However, it is extremely tempting to laugh at your suggestion about me wanting to endanger firefighters by discouraging incompetent people from throwing water at a greasy electric element. LOL. Shame on me. Forget banning fire extinguishers, let’s ban fire departments. Imagine how many firefighters would be saved by that one simple reform.

  54. Warren July 25, 2013 at 2:25 pm #


    She did not run back in, with the plan to put the fire out. She went back in to make sure everyone was out. She then made the attempt and put the fire out.

    Why such hatred for this woman? Is it because she had the guts to do something you are too cowardly to attempt?

    I also feel the need to laugh at your total disregard for the safety of emergency responders. Not just that, but you have no problem with blowing thousands of dollars of the dept’s budget, for a chicken nugget. And occupying the dept. when someone in real need could be doing without.

    Your stance on this is beyond insane, and very below your normal debates.

  55. Warren July 25, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    Just noticed, it is now not just a smoldering chicken nugget, but a greasy electric element as well. SKL, were you there, you seem to have more facts than have been presented by the media?

  56. SKL July 25, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    LOL, I know you normally respect me so highly, Warren.

    The fire department’s time was booked the instant the fire alarm went off. There was no turning back the clock on that.

    Obviously the chicken nugget was on the bottom of the oven, where the heating element is. Obviously grease is going to be involved if there is an oven that has been used and had overflow.

    As for my moral turpitude (as if I had any morals left to redeem in your opinion), don’t worry, I’ve put out many fires, and I am sure I will put out many more. Perhaps that is why I have enough sense to not practically deify this woman for creating a danger, exacerbating it, and then blaming it on everyone else.

  57. Natalie July 25, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    You’re right, those alarms are connected to the FD. We had an incident at synagogue where a few kids thought it would be funny to pull the alarm. After apologizing, We had the fireman explain why it was a bad idea to pull a prank like that. I don’t think those kids will be doing it again.

  58. Warren July 25, 2013 at 4:06 pm #


    You seem determined to bring in all sorts of facts, that are purely from your imagination. Where are they coming from,not the article itself.

    And yes you can call off the FD. Which allows them to kill their lights and sirens, and either proceed to the call to investigate, or return to the station, in a much safer manner.

    And our local engineer again is mistaken. Those fire alarms in private companies, are linked to a monitoring company, not the fire dept.

  59. Natalie July 25, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    Okay, connected indirectly, if you enjoy knit picking.

  60. SKL July 25, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    Well FYI even my central home fire alarm calls the FD automatically. Luckily it isn’t close to my kitchen and has only accidentally gone off once or twice. I get a phone call and they ask if it is an actual emergency. If nobody answers, they come.

    I don’t know the exact setup at that daycare center, but given that it is a daycare center, the alarm would be taken seriously and the FD did arrive within 5 minutes per the article.

    In the story at hand the FD was there five minutes after the alarm sounded. So I don’t know why that is even a point of contention in your opinion.

  61. Warren July 25, 2013 at 7:24 pm #


    Unless you live in a very small village, I cannot see the FD actually being linked to your home alarm. I can see the monitoring company directing it, for the simple fact that the FD is not going to want every tom dick and harry directly linked to them.

    Just how much do you pay the Fire Dept for this service?

  62. SKL July 26, 2013 at 12:27 am #

    Warren, it probably is an indirect link in my case, and I’m not sure one way or another about the daycare. Why is that so important?

    I don’t pay for this service, it was the way the fire alarm was installed when the house was built by the previous owners. I don’t think it’s particularly unusual. It was a big pain in the butt the first time the alarm went off, because I didn’t even know where the shutoff button was, and as I’m running around looking for it, I get this phone call. Thankfully whoever called was able to help me find the button to shut the dang thing off.

  63. bmommyx2 July 26, 2013 at 1:12 am #

    Ridiculous. If she was close enough to smell the smoke she was close enough to hear the kids if they woke up & left the room. I don’t know about this pre-school, but the one my son went to had all of the classes in one building & the kids could not have gotten out on their own. The could have wandered into another classroom, outside or gotten into mischief, but no danger. Huge overreaction.

  64. Warren July 26, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    SKL keep your head down and stay quiet. Alarm monitoring is never free. If you rent the owner is paying, if you own, I would just shhhhhhhhhhhhh and enjoy it while you can.

  65. Natalie July 26, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    I just skimmed the comment section to this story.

    Wow. Lots of unintentional hilarity.

    It’s neat that they refer to each other as Ms. or Miss so and so. Like the kids do. At my daughter’s daycare they refer to each other in front of the kids for consistency, but no kids are reading the comments section of this paper. Old habits, I guess.

  66. SKL July 26, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    Warren, you know everything! I’ve owned this place for 18 years. 911 is free too. Imagine that. (Well, not free exactly, since I pay a lot of taxes.)

    I also didn’t have to pay for the fire inspection I needed in order to pass the adoption home study. And the fire department provides free services like car seat installation / checks too. I’m sure all that costs money but it’s covered by our taxes.

  67. pentamom July 26, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    SKL, I don’t know your situation, but where there are volunteer fire companies a lot of those things like inspections and car seat checks and so forth are free, because they generate good will and people are more likely to give donations in return.. Where my mother-in-law lives they’ll even fill up your pool from one of their pumper trucks for free. When we had to reline and refill our pool a couple of years ago she suggested we call the fire company, but we said, “Uh, no, somehow I don’t think the paid city fire department using city water would go along with that.”

    I can’t speak to the home monitoring issue, though.

  68. Warren July 26, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    I am not saying you are wrong or anything to the sorts. I have just never heard of
    1. private residences being directly linked to the fire dept.
    2. alarm monitoring being free, as they have wages, maintenance and upgrades to cover.
    3. or being covered by taxes, unless every home is getting the same service for their tax dollar.

    If you are getting it for free more power to you, and I am extremly jealous.

  69. Stacey July 26, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    can’t leave them alone for an instant? what happens if one kid escapes and you have to choose between staying with the kids or leaving for a minute to bring the one kid back? either way at least one kid is unsupervised. At what point does it become okay for someone to be unsupervised? should university campuses be supervising students at all times? after all at the rate things are going university students will have no idea how to handle themselves without 24/7 supervision. What happens when a kid gets their own house/apartment, who’s gonna supervise them? who’s gonna cook for them? Clearly it is wrong to try and prepare kids for living on their own. Do they have to live at home forever? How will they look after their own children? If we’re not allowed to teach the next generation how to care for themselves, what happens when the last generation of people who can care for themselves die?

  70. Stacey July 26, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    isn`t the reason why day cares have fire exstinguishers so that staff can put out a small fire themselves before it turns into a big fire. why have fire exstinguishers if youre supposed to call the fire department for every little thing

  71. SKL July 27, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    Stacey, the issue isn’t the putting out of the fire but the fact that she left her charges alone to focus on her personal lunch. Someone who is not watching kids should be doing things that need done away from the kids. If there was nobody available to do that, then that might be a problem and it might justify leaving the kids to respond in certain cases – but on the other hand, it seems nobody was supposed to be cooking at that time in the first place. When the cooking was supposed to be going on, there was another person present who was not watching kids.

    Funny thing though, if she had any clue how to use the fire extinguisher, she might have prevented the call the FD, the incident would not have hit the radar, and she probably would still have her job.

  72. pentamom July 27, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    “Stacey, the issue isn’t the putting out of the fire but the fact that she left her charges alone to focus on her personal lunch.’

    As Donna said, then why isn’t the owner saying that is the reason?

  73. SKL July 27, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    Pentamom, she is. She said the reason she fired her was because she left her post.

  74. asap July 28, 2013 at 11:40 pm #

    Stacey THINK for a minute If that’s true then the owner would have jumped on that! She was fired for taking 5 steps to PEEP in oven. The alarm goes off she takes 5 more steps to wake up sleeping kids. Once outside all kids lined up and the other teachers counted. She went back in to LOOK for any sleeping child left under a blanket. She then took 5 steps and Peeped again. THEN did what everyone would do put it out. She made ugly comments Did you see what that person was saying. RUBBISH. I can see why she was rude! FIRED AND ATTAKED by some crazies making posts. This what my comment would look like.###!!#!!!#???##!!!!!##