Home daycare goes up in flames; Neighbors react quickly to save children

by: Greg Suskin Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Kristie Hamilton said the day care she ran out of her home was everything to her. 
 
"I do everything I’m supposed to do for these kids," she said.  "Then this happened."
 
On Thursday morning, two neighbors ran to the front door of the house on Devonbridge Lane when they saw flames shooting from the roof.   They told Hamilton the house was on fire, and made sure everyone got out.
 
Hamilton had four children inside the house.  Two of her own, and two who were there for the day care.  

IMAGES: Fire at day care on Devonbridge Lane

Adreco Howze said his daughter was there Thursday morning, but left for school before the fire started.  He never doubted the kids would be safe there.
 
"Miss Kristie is the best day care provider. She'd risk her life to make sure those kids got out of there," Howze said.
 
Charlotte firefighters said the fire started when someone dumped hot charcoal from a grill into a trash can that sat beside the house.
 
Fire burned up the can, a wooden privacy fence, then climbed into the attic of the home, collapsing the roof.
 
Hamilton told channel nine they had grilled out last night.
 
"We put the charcoal in the trash, and thought it had all cooled down," she said.
 
The flames were so big, and the heat so intense, it ignited the house next door, melting the siding of one entire side.  Damage was about $80,000, according to a restoration company we spoke to on the scene.
 
Neighbor Cynthia Rogers saw the flames from her bedroom.
 
"I heard the sound of the siren, and I looked out my top window upstairs, and I saw the flames coming from the top of my neighbor's house," she said.
 
Firefighters said the fire has been ruled an accident.
 
Hamilton's brother Greg Minor called the fire devastating, but mostly because the loss of his sister's dream job.
 
"That daycare meant everything to Kristie. Everything," he said.