A nursery is getting back on its feet after a devastating fire badly damaged one of its two buildings – and knocked out its kitchen.
Elland Day Nursery had to close for a week after the fire which gutted the ground floor of its main building and left the first floor badly smoke damaged.
Now the nursery on Northgate is operating almost as normal from its second, smaller building with the help of a temporary kitchen.
Janeen Turner-Barrow, who runs the nursery, said the fire had broken out on the evening of Thursday, January 4, and was reported by staff who arrived the following morning to open up.
“There was a power surge, apparently,” she said. “Two members of staff opened up at 6.45am and when they opened the first door a lot of smoke poured out. Luckily, they hadn’t opened the inner door. They shut the door and rang the emergency services. They did everything they had to do perfectly.”
Despite the efforts of fire crews, the two-storey building suffered extensive damage.
Since then the nursery, which has 58 children on the roll, has been using its single-storey building while the damaged building is repaired.
But Janeen said: “We were struggling to manage because our main kitchen was in the building that was burned.”
Staff faced the prospect of changing the play area into a dining area several times a day to prepare and serve breakfasts, lunches and teas – disrupting play sessions for the children until Cheltenham-based modular commercial kitchen supplier PKL Ltd arrange for a temporary kitchen to be site in the council car park near the nursery.
Janeen said: “It’s been a quick turnaround and that’s brilliant. The staff were really looking forward to having a proper lunch space to allow our children to get back to serving themselves and mixing around tables as they normally do.
“The children have really been looking forward to walking out across the playground to have lunch - it’s a little adventure for them! We’re really grateful to PKL for turning this around so quickly. It will make the months until we are back in our normal building much easier to deal with.”
She said it was hoped to re-open the refurbished two-storey building for the end of May.
“It was a real shock to lose so much in the fire,” said Janeen, “We pride ourselves on being flexible for our parents and they have been incredibly kind in their support and generous in their donations of toys, clothes and other bits and pieces. Our staff have been amazing in making the transition to using one building. I feel very lucky despite the stress it has caused.”
PKL chief executive Lee Vines said: “Our temporary kitchens are designed to work anywhere and help those in desperate need of kitchen facilities at short notice. We’re delighted that Janeen and her colleagues are able to cook for their 58 children again and we wish them well for the refurbishment.”