FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — Monday seemed to be a normal day for Janice Thompson, who owns and operates a licensed daycare out of her home.

However, it turned out to be anything but normal for her. At about 10 a.m., Thompson was getting the television set to “Cocomelon” for her kids when the smoke detectors began to ring.

Thompson said she immediately got up, when she noticed smoke coming down the hall. She said it was pitch black and the fire was getting closer to the back of the home where the daycare was located. 

“I got my children and told them to get to the designated area,” she said. “I had three kids at the daycare during the fire. I went to the back door and I didn’t hesitate. I left everything and went through the backdoor and went across the field.” 

Thompson had an evacuation plan set in the event of a fire and she practiced it with her kids twice a month. She said the only thing on her mind was getting the children to safety.

She has lived at the home for 32 years and recently had it remodeled. Even at the scene of rubble, Thompson still had a smile. 

“I love my job. I still have my life and all of the kids are safe,” she said. “That’s all that matters. Material things can be replaced, but a life cannot.” 

The fire destroyed Thompson’s house and her car. The wind blew the fire onto the car. 

Michael Hesbach, Executive Director of the Eastern Carolina Red Cross, commended Thompson for getting the children out of the home. 

Hesbach said the mission of the Red Cross is to help families in need and provide immediate financial assistance to help people during the first 48 hours of the disaster. The Red Cross will also connect affected families with community organizations in whatever way they need. 

Thompson has a Gofundme account to help her get her home and daycare back up and running at https://gofund.me/3be9e814.