Investigators have ruled a Labor Day weekend fire that occurred at the former home of a popular child care center accidental.
Somerset Fire Department Battalion Chief Mark Catron said an investigation into the early morning blaze at the former Judy’s Child Care Center building that took place on Sept. 2 revealed that the fire started in the area of the furnace room.
“We determined it (the fire) to be accidental and it started in the area of the furnace and mechanical room,” said Catron.
Catron added that investigators can’t be more specific on the source of the blaze because “there’s a lot that’s in that area,” including mechanical equipment and electrical items.
The former Judy’s Child Care Center is located at 2401 West Ky. 80. The Somerset Fire Department responded to a report of a blaze there at 4:17 a.m. on Sept. 2.
Once there, firefighters saw that the flames had already reached beyond the roof of the building, according to Catron.
The Nancy Volunteer Fire Department and Parkers Mill Volunteer Fire Department were called to the scene to assist, and firefighters stayed on the scene until just after 9 a.m.
The building was deemed a total loss.
No firefighters were injured in the incident, which partially shut down West Ky. 80 for several hours.
The building was not occupied at the time, and Catron had said he believed the owners were in the process of remodeling.
The blaze was ruled accidental after the Somerset Fire Investigation Team and investigators with an insurance company looked into the blaze.
Judy’s Child Care Center, owned and operated by Judy Rice, now operates out of a location on Oak Hill Road.
Rice is listed as the owner of the West Ky. 80 location.
Although the day care was not operating out of the West Ky. 80 location when this weekend’s fire broke out, it was the second fire in less than two years that has affected the business.
The Oak Hill location was forced to shut down for costly repairs and renovations in January 2011 after a fire broke out there that left damage to the child care center’s furnace room and left heavy smoke damage to the rest of the building.
Fire investigators concluded that the first blaze had started overnight in the furnace room and had been caused by an electrical problem, according to a March 2011 Common-wealth Journal article detailing the incident.