A group of adults and youngsters from the Kinder Kare daycare visited the Brownwood Fire Department on Depot Street to thank them for assisting them after an accident last Wednesday.

Kinder Kare Child Development Center Owner Janie Boyd said they made it a point to thank firefighters and, later that afternoon, Brownwood Police Department officers who responded to the scene of the accident, which had been the first accident involving children in the daycare’s 48-year history.

The accident occurred following a period of heavy rain, just as a van loaded with children returning from a reading program lost control and ended up straddling the center divider of the Vine Street underpass.

“As they went down the little hill half a block away to Vine Street, they hit a slick spot. It was very scary because we realized they were in a vulnerable place where cars could come down, but I pulled in right behind them and at least three ladies were quickly grabbing the children and put them behind the railing in a safe place. Since this happened across the street from the fire station, they were there immediately.”

As the firefighters began working the scene, the rain continued to fall sporadically. Considering some children may have just experienced their first automobile accident, with the permission of officials with the Brownwood Chamber of Commerce, the children walked to the old train depot building where they could be examined for any injuries. While checking them for injuries, firefighters kept them calm by playing games and even had a few souvenir firefighter helmets, Frisbees and other items to calm their nerves.

“After the initial evaluation, there was a nice lady – one representing the [chamber] and said ‘Would they be comfortable to come inside. We’ll give them water and let them cool down,’” Boyd said. “The captain gave permission that it was safe to move them and we went inside as they continued to check them over. They played games with them. They gave them little plastic fire hats and even got to hold real ones. Their tears were all gone. They gave them toys and played games. It diverted their attention and kept them calm.”

Neither the driver nor the children inside the van were injured and Boyd said she was surprised how many members of the Brownwood community came to their assistance at their moment of need.

“These children have a new understanding how everyone comes together to help,” Boyd said.  “… I’m glad we said our prayers this morning and we feel blessed. It could have been different, but every child was released to get on another van and we went back and had lunch a short time later. We’re so thankful to God for having angels over us, the depot for letting us come in and our police and firefighters for kicking in, giving the children a good experience, calming them and reassuring them they are there when they’re needed.”