GARDNER, Kan. — A family in Gardner says they’re grateful to have each other after a fire broke out in their home Tuesday night.
Not only did it displace them from their house, but it’s temporarily closing their in-home daycare.
Jennifer Clements loves taking care of kids. She’s been doing it nearly 10 years and is hoping maybe someone in Gardner can help her keep doing what she loves.
Clements said she doesn’t recognize her bedroom after the fire broke out.
“It breaks my heart,” she said.
Just after 9 p.m. her husband and three children came home from gymnastics. The first thing she heard was her smoke detector.
“I think I’m still in shock,” Clements said. “When I was running through the house trying to get the animals out, I didn’t know what I was doing. I thought that it was just a smoke that was in the house and that, you know, everything was going to be OK. And when I realized that’s not the case, we just tried rushing to get everything we could.”
Clements runs an in-home daycare out of her basement and takes care of 10 children daily.
“My business is everything,” Clements said. “I love those kids. They’re amazing.”
After the fire, she said it will take about six months to get back into their home. In the meantime, they’re staying between family’s houses and a hotel.
But she’s hoping she can find a place in the Gardner community to keep her daycare in business.
“I’m going to try to reach out to churches or somewhere that I can rent some space so I can continue working,” Clements said. “I’m gonna find something that I can do, somewhere I can be in the meantime, so that way I can still watch those kids.”
In the fire, Clements said they lost several pets, mostly reptiles. They were able to save some of them, and the kids are coping with the loss.
“They don’t exactly understand everything, but they’re, you know, they’re upset that their house was on fire and that lost their pets,” Clements said.
She said she’s grateful to parents, friends and family who are reaching out to help.
“I really appreciate everything that everybody has done,” Clements said. “The Gardner community is amazing.”
The mothers from the daycare put together a fund for the family. If you would like to donate you can do so here. Also, if you are in the Garner community and have a space that may help, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.