Keita's fast moves avert tragedy
CHILDCARE worker Keita Shaw's first priority is to make sure all her kids are safe.
So when she found out there was a car on fire at the front doors of the Burrum Kids R Us early learning centre, she ordered all the children to be evacuated and raced outside to push the vehicle away from the building.
The Holden Commodore station wagon burst into flames when a woman dropped her two grandchildren at the centre about 8.30am yesterday.
No one was in the car at the time.
Ms Shaw said the incident thrust the centre's well-practised emergency procedures into action.
The 20 children, from young babies up to four-year-olds, were marched to an outdoor assembly area at the rear of the Torbanlea building as firefighters made their way from Craignish.
"The staff reacted pretty quickly," Ms Shaw said.
"The kids were excited. We practice our emergency evacuation plan all the time.
"No one was hurt and that's the main thing."
Melissa Gaddes' mother's car was the one on fire and her two children, aged two and four, had been inside just moments before.
"I'm so glad my children weren't in the car," Ms Gaddes said.
Her mother, Sue, was crying at the scene, still struck by what could've happened.
"I'm just a bit shaken up. I had my two grandkids in the car before it caught fire," she said.
"I was walking down the hall and someone said 'Your car's on fire'.
"It's just lucky it didn't blow up the kindergarten."
Officers form the Department of Environment and Resource Management were in the area doing a controlled burn when they saw the car and raced over to extinguish the flames.
The fire was all but out by the time firefighters arrived.
Childcare staff stood by while firefighters from Queensland Fire and Rescue sprayed foam onto the Commodore's engine bay.
"We're going to clear the area and make sure there is no smoke in the building so we can let the kids back inside," Craignish auxiliary captain Peter Ward said.