Wiggles N Giggles day care in North Huntingdon to set up temporary location
Six days after a fire that destroyed her North Huntingdon day care, owner Tiffany Rudy and her staff are planning for the future with help from community donors.
“(My staff's) going day by day,” Rudy said. “We've had many tears together, but everyone's trying to work through the bad situation and try to get something established quickly.”
A blaze that started at North Huntingdon's Gloria's Cantina Lounge on Route 30 was spread by wind to the neighboring Wiggles N Giggles Academy on Wednesday. Rudy and her staff hurriedly led more than a dozen children from the building to safety at a storage facility across. No one was injured. Fire marshals with township police on Monday did not respond for comment about their investigation into the cause.
Rudy said the fire-ravaged building can't be reopened. County records indicate the property is owned by Richard and Cherie O'Neal of Larimer.
Rudy is working on setting up a temporary location for the day care, then finding a permanent one. One possible site for the temporary location is First Methodist Church in Irwin, though it hasn't yet been secured.
In the interim, some children who attend Wiggles N Giggles are being cared for at their homes by staff members.
A steady stream of community support is helping Rudy with the loss. A GoFundMe Web page, “Wiggles N' Giggles Fire Recovery,” raised about $1,000 in two days. The page caps donations at $5,000, but Rudy doesn't know how much money she'll need to set up a new day care.
T-shirts are being sold for $25 by a parent whose child attended the day care, with a portion of the profits going to Rudy. The parent set up a website for donations as well.
“People are being really supportive, giving well wishes and hoping everything works out,” Rudy said.
The Guardian Storage facility across Route 30, where the day care staff and children fled to escape the flames, donated two storage units to Rudy. They've been filled with about 200 donated items to supply a day care, including toys, books and highchairs.
Rudy said she is still figuring out where she wants to permanently relocate.
Gloria's Cantina Lounge, a former strip club, closed in November 2012 under court order that was dissolved in October. Prosecutors then requested the building's closure after a state police raid found alleged prostitution and drug trafficking in its premises.
Hartford Heights Volunteer Fire Company and Relief Association had purchased the property for $140,000 in December and had planned to tear down the buildings to create additional parking.
The fire broke out as workers from CS Construction of Trafford took a lunch break of the first day of the demolition, according to Hartford Heights fire Chief Sean Oskin.
Natalie Wickman is a T ribune-Review staff writer.