Children and parents try to find new daycare options after center fire

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FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) – Dozens of children and parents are now trying to find new daycare options after a Flint center caught fire.

The owners tell TV5, it’s like losing a member of the family.

“It was just, you know, it’s like 20 years of my life, you know, gone,” Gloria Chatman said.

Chatman is the owner of Gloria’s Little Angels Daycare. She vows to rebuild after a fire destroys their livelihood.

“Even with the current kids we have now and the staff and… it hurts not to see them every day,” said Venita Hiler, the program director.

When she had her first child, her mother, Gloria, didn’t know of a nearby, safe daycare, so she bought the building from three dentists.

“It meant the world to me. I’ve worked here since we opened, since we turned it from a dentist’s office to a daycare, so I’ve been here the whole time,” Hiler said.

The fire broke out around 5 a.m. Thursday, just before the center was scheduled to open.

No one was injured in the fire, but the building is a total loss. A Michigan State arson investigator is currently looking into the case.

Chatman doubts it was arson.

“But I would never think that in a million years someone would do something like that, so myself, personally, I haven’t even thought of anything like that,” Chatman said.

According to Hiler, more than 70 children are currently enrolled, with nearly 50 showing up each day, they had eight employees.

Thousands of children passed through, some now adults, bringing their own children.

“There is a lot of history in this building. Lots of love, lots of memories, things that we can’t really get back, you know, photos and things like that, but, you know, it’s always in our hearts. Always,” Hiler said.

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