Owner guards Tulsa daycare destroyed by July storm’s lightning

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Reported by: Price McKeon
Updated: 8/09/2013 10:14 pm Published: 8/09/2013 9:20 pm

A North Tulsa day care owner is guarding what’s left of his business after a lightning strike caught the house on fire during the July storm. The owner said people are stealing from the building.

The Collins family has owned the day care for 25 years.

Owner Herbert Collins Jr. said, “It’s terrible. It’s almost like losing a member of the family because we've raised so many kids here for so long.”

FOX 23 reporter Price McKeon found charred coloring books, toys and papers at Mama Collins Daycare and Learning Center on Friday.

Collins and his wife opened the day care in the ‘80s. Lightning struck the building during July’s storm catching it on fire.

Kids’ arts and craft projects on the wall are ruined. Ceiling tiles are where kids used to play.

Collins said people are stealing from the closed day care so he is sitting outside guarding it.

He said he did not report the items stolen to police yet because, “We didn't have the serial numbers on what they stole, so we wouldn't be able to identify them by the serial numbers.”

He said someone stole a dishwasher, a microwave, and even a snow cone machine.

He said, “It’s a loss. It’s kind of like you sitting at the bed, at the table with a sick parent or a sick child. You feel lost by just looking at it.”

Colorful billboards are now ruined from the smoke. Instead of toys, ceiling tiles and nails fill what used to be the playroom.

He said parents and kids are still stopping by the day care, “Telling us how lost they were and what were we planning to do because they really wanted to come back.”

The building is a total loss.

He said children asked him, “’Where are we going to play? Where we going?’  is the question that they asked.”

Collins said they are trying to move to a new location down the road.

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