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No cause reported on Hinesville fire
0331 Day care fire
Firefighters battle a blaze Sunday night at Kiddie Kare, Learning and Pre-K Center on Wilson Avenue in Hinesville. Investigators still have not determined the cause of the fire that consumed the 60-year-old building. - photo by Photo provided.
A Hinesville woman lost the business she built over the course of 20 years when the Kiddie Kare, Learning and Pre-K Center burned to the ground Sunday evening.
The Wilson Avenue day care, owned by Laverne Young, provided care for more than 80 children, according to Young’s son, Cory Young, who is a firefighter with the Gum Branch Volunteer Fire Department
Young said his mother hurried to the facility Sunday after receiving a call about the fire and found flames shooting through the 60-year-old building’s roof.
“This is devastating to my mother. This was her life, Monday through Friday,” Cory Young said during a phone interview Monday.
Early Monday, Laverne Young, who declined to speak with the media, watched from across the street as arson investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s office and members of the Hinesville Fire Department sifted through the remnants of her business.
“She doesn’t know what she is going to do at this point,” her son said. “She is undecided whether she will rebuild.”
Firefighters were called to the fire shortly after 8 p.m. Sunday, according to Public Information Officer Capt. Kris Johansen of the Hinesville Fire Department.
“When firefighters arrived, they found flames shooting through the roof of the single-story structure,” Johansen said. As firefighters set up to battle the blaze, portions of the roof collapsed, making it unsafe for responders to enter the building. Johansen said they fought the fire from outside.
He said OMI knocked down the brick walls so firefighters could extinguish fires trapped between them. “At one point, we were playing catch-up with the fire as it moved from one location to another within the house,” the information officer said. “That’s why we called in OMI.”
The fire took just under six hours to fully extinguish, and the last crew left the scene at around 2:30 a.m. A total of 14 Hinesville firefighters and five Fort Stewart firefighters battled the blaze.
The cause of the fire is undetermined, according to fire investigator Capt. Rick Perryman, who assisted state arson investigators. “At this point, we have not be able to determine what caused this fire. The state also brought in their dogs to see if any accelerants were used and none was detected,” Perryman said.
He said the building had been renovated over the years, but the original wood was still in place, which made firefighters’ jobs difficult. “This was old pine wood, which when dried, makes the sap in the wood highly farmable. It’s called fat lighter wood because it continues to burn regardless of what you do,” Perryman said.
A separate structure adjacent to the day care sustained minimal damage because it had fire walls, the captain said.

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