Kids rescued from daycare after street floods

Posted at 10:26 PM, Sep 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-08 18:35:40-04

WEST ALLIS -- What should have been a normal pick up for kids at a West Allis daycare turned into a rescue operation. The heavy rains Wednesday flooded the road in front of the KinderCare Learning Center. Instead of waiting for the water to subside, area fire departments stepped in to help.

The West Allis Fire Department said they had so many calls Wednesday evening because of the rain, they couldn't even keep up, and Wauwatosa and Milwaukee crews had to help.

"While they were working there they saw another vehicle that was occupied further up the road that was also under water, so we redeployed people to that one which was right next to KinderCare," said Assistant Chief Jay Scharfenberg of the West Allis Fire Department.

That's when they realized there were kids and adults inside the daycare. KinderCare's district manager Deb Gorman said they already told parents not to drive to get their kids; that they would keep them safe until the water subsided. But they soon realized that could be late in the night. So when the fire department came knocking, they took them up on their offer to get everyone out to higher ground. 

"They were incredible in the fact they got down to the kids levels and said, 'It's going to be fine, you know we are here to help you. We are going to take you to your mom and dad,'" said Gorman.

The firefighters walked and carried the kids through the water to their trucks nearby, and then shuttled the kids to a nearby church.

"What we did is just drove those trucks up with two people in them. Filled them up with kids and a couple of adults and carried them to where it was safe," said Scharfenberg.

The next morning, as parents dropped of their kids back to daycare, they told the center just how grateful they were.

Gorman said a parent told her, "'You made the most traumatic event in my child's life into a party and letting them play in the classroom.'"

'We told them they were going to get the ride of their lives and they were thrilled. It was a great way for them to end the day," said Scharfenberg.

West Allis says a majority of their calls last night were because people drove into high water. They say if a road is covered with water turn around, even a few feet can carry off a vehicle or make it stall.