Danville—Flames were shooting through the roof of the activity center on the campus of Sunrise Children’s Services in Danville when local firefighters arrived on Friday afternoon.
“God was watching out for us because every child and employee came out safe. We were blessed that no one was in the activity center at the time,” said Dale Suttles, president of Sunrise Children’s Services.
A foster care specialist with Sunrise’s Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility spotted the fire while taking a walk with one its residents around lunchtime. The cause of the fire has not been determined.
“Our immediate and utmost priority was to ensure the safety and protection of the 27 male children and youth who live there,” said Melissa Bailey, associate director of communications for Sunrise. “I’m happy to report that we successfully transported all of the boys to a local church, which has graciously stepped in to help us feed and care for them at this time.”
The children, many of whom suffer from extreme psychological disorders due to trauma, likely will not be able to return to their campus for several days until it has been determined that it is safe to do so. Loss of the multi-purpose facility, which also houses a small library, a kitchen and classroom space, will significantly impact the treatment facility’s ministry, however.
Randy Reese, director of education at First Baptist Church, Danville, where the residents were relocated, told WKYT that the children will feel its loss.
“I think it’s going to be tough mostly for the kids. I think that’s something, from talking with the workers here, that the kids utilized, enjoyed, was a very important part of their daily routines so I think that’s going to be a troublesome thing for the children that are there, but I think this community will pull together and we’ll find some places where they can go and participate in athletics and the activities they utilized that facility for,” said Reese.
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services has been notified. “We are also contacting the family members of these young men to notify them that the boys are safe and out of harm’s way,” Bailey said.
“Please keep Sunrise in your thoughts and prayers as we assess and determine the damages from this fire,” she said, adding that donations and gift cards from those wishing to help will be greatly appreciated. (WR)