MONTGOMERY COUNTY—Change or shut down, that's the dilemma some daycare owners are going through after finding out it will cost them thousands of dollars to revamp their business in order to meet state and county fire codes.
Becky Williams has owned and operated Kiddie Cabin Daycare for more than 20 years. With several children under her care, her first priority is making sure the children are safe. Just recently she faced the reality of having to shut down.
"It's very aggravating when you have invested 20 years of your life," said Williams.
According to the Montgomery County Fire Marshal, Kiddie Cabin Daycare is not up to par with state and county fire codes and she's not the only one. Other daycares in the area are aware they have to revamp their entire fire system and it will cost thousands of dollars.
"My bids are anywhere from $5,000 for the alarm system that they want me to add up to $10,000," said Williams. "I really don't have that right now."
In a letter from Montgomery Co. Fire Marshall Jimmy Williams, Becky was notified that she had 90 days to bring her business up to code. She would have to install an automatic fire alarm system with manual activation systems at each door, install panic or fire hardware on both exit doors, install emergency lighting and install emergency exit lighting.
"It's not just the expense it's the outcome," said Williams. "I'm either forced to do this by 90 days or I will be forced to close down and what's gonna happen to the kids what's gonna happen to my workers."
Williams already installed hundreds of dollars worth of emergency exit lighting to the front of her building. The big problem now, is her back building, she just recently rebuild it after it sustained about forty thousand dollars worth of Hurricane Ike damage. Williams is now hoping to find a way to come up with money needed to keep her business afloat, she's not sure if in fact she will be able to do it in time.
"They said they don't wanna put the small business out of business but it very well could," said Williams.
County Commissioner Ed Rinehart said in two weeks commissioner's court will meet again to review both state and county fire codes.