Make this page my home page
  1. Drag the home icon in this panel and drop it onto the "house icon" in the tool bar for the browser

  2. Select "Yes" from the popup window and you're done!

Print Comment RSS

Fla. teacher fired after putting classroom fire out

School officials say they fired her for leaving her classroom

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Michelle Hammack was fired Wednesday from her teaching job at the Little Temples Childcare facility in Arlington.

It all started when Hammack smelled burning chicken nuggets from her nearby classroom. "I just leaned over and peeked around and there was a fire in the oven, and I ran in there and opened it to try to put it out, and the fire alarm started going off."

Hammack says she rushed back to her classroom and woke up her napping students. She then took all of the children outside.

Full story: Teacher fired after putting fire out

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Frank De Maio Frank De Maio Tuesday, July 23, 2013 2:04:07 PM JUST CAN`T WIN ANYMORE!
David Slomienski David Slomienski Tuesday, July 23, 2013 2:37:55 PM So let me see, the teacher gets fired for "abandoning" her students by investigating the smell of smoke. WOW just think what the lawsuits would have been if she had stayed and one of the kids ( lord forbid) had gotten hurt of died. Just how stupid is the management? GOOD JOB teacher Hammack! I would like to have had someone as smart as you to teach my kids.
Katie Rose Mathe Katie Rose Mathe Tuesday, July 23, 2013 2:38:20 PM She's a hero.
Tony DiPrima Tony DiPrima Tuesday, July 23, 2013 2:49:45 PM she should have her job she saved the oven and the school I'm sure,
Blair Ghent Blair Ghent Tuesday, July 23, 2013 3:37:25 PM she should be schooled on fire controll.First the fire is contain in the oven, and she opens itup, letting the fire out.And , didn't she start the fire.She is a stupid hero.
Annette Atkins Annette Atkins Tuesday, July 23, 2013 3:43:49 PM Should have pulled alarm and gotten kids out first. Sorry, but that would be safest procedure. Fire would have probably died out by itself, being inside a closed oven. Firing may be extreme reaction tho. Wiser to redo fire procedure
Debbie Daughters Cory Debbie Daughters Cory Tuesday, July 23, 2013 5:24:05 PM I hope she get a lot of job offers.. but I don't think she should have open the over door.. she should have just turned off the oven and got everyone out.. would not have fired her.. give her a raise..
Matt Suzy Schuster Matt Suzy Schuster Tuesday, July 23, 2013 5:38:32 PM I'm not a teacher, nor have I ever worked in a daycare, I am however a nurse and I would have lost my job for doing what she did. I know it sounds harsh, but in healthcare, you are taught the RACE concept Rescue, Alert, Contain, Extinguish. If you don't follow, it's in your handbook training, state mandated fire drills. They will have to report it.
Roland LaFrance Sr. Roland LaFrance Sr. Tuesday, July 23, 2013 6:02:37 PM As soon as she smelled smoke, she should have sounded the alarm and evacuated her children, instead of looking for the the source of the smoke, and looking for the fire, and then upon finding the fire, opened the oven. I teach fire safety classes in a Florida child care center where my wife works, and pull their monthly fire drills, having been a firefighter and fire officer with 20 years + in firefighting. She broke more than one rule, and disregarded her fire safety training she must have had.
Bob Lincoln Bob Lincoln Tuesday, July 23, 2013 7:12:24 PM She did everything wrong. She started the fire, she opened the oven door, she left the kids alone while there was smoke and fire present, she tried to fight the fire with the kids still inside. A lucky idiot. This could have resulted in a lot of injuries or deaths.
Natalie Totire Natalie Totire Tuesday, July 23, 2013 7:46:43 PM I worked with day care centers years ago, and they apply rule after rule, so that no matter what you do, you're always doing something wrong, and I agree it's a no-win situation. However she did the right thing by getting all the kids out, but should have left the fire handling to fire fighters. However, people today are just so unmerciful, and she should not have lost her job.
Robert Norgrove Robert Norgrove Tuesday, July 23, 2013 10:43:26 PM What a joke, no one got Hirt she did the right thing.
Tracy Tolland Tracy Tolland Wednesday, July 24, 2013 5:12:25 AM Not right that she is fired.She reacted and that saves lives.Amen.
Glennon Mayer Glennon Mayer Wednesday, July 24, 2013 5:46:37 AM Now go find a job with a american day care.
Penny DeForge Cahill Penny DeForge Cahill Wednesday, July 24, 2013 9:48:13 AM This is why so many early education teachers who are Highly Qualified (HQT) with both BA's and MA's are quitting teaching - I am currently taking a "break" because we are so over regulated! I hope for once the parents step up and fight for her instead of turning their backs and waiting for her replacement. It's amazing how the same parents who loved you to pieces that morning are willing to let you hang that afternoon. If you children are really your most precious gift show them how to stand up for what is right and just.
Penny DeForge Cahill Penny DeForge Cahill Wednesday, July 24, 2013 9:50:30 AM You are the reason teacher quit - your one of those who love them in the morning and hang them in the afternoon - correct?
Jim Guy Jim Guy Wednesday, July 24, 2013 11:36:12 AM There was no reason for this teacher to do anything but alert the school (fire Alarm) and get her children out. It is obvious that her employer's policy places safety of the children as her number one priority and expects her employees to follow direction. The closed oven door contained the fire. Opening the oven door exposed the teacher and everyone in the building to fire spread and smoke. Dumb move.
Shane Stacey Shane Stacey Wednesday, July 24, 2013 1:57:48 PM If I was a parent of one of the children, I'd be angry if the school did NOT take action against the teacher and the conversation would go something like this: "So, you're telling me my kid''s teacher smelled smoke and decides to leave my child unattended to go investigate, rather than pulling the fire alarm and getting the kids outside?!" She was hired to be a teacher and safeguard the children in her care, not play Nancy Drew.
Travis Andrew Wilson Travis Andrew Wilson Wednesday, July 24, 2013 4:04:44 PM well who left the food unattened in the oven? the owner should say something about that to.
Steve Kady Steve Kady Wednesday, July 24, 2013 6:18:52 PM Rules are rules. Common sense is common sense. Sometimes they don't mix. It appears that her room was very close to the oven. It sounds like other teachers were investigating the odor also. Did they leave their rooms? It sounds like this was a team effort to get the children to safety and help preven t any major damage. You do what you have to do, despite management.
Doug Strosnider Doug Strosnider Wednesday, July 24, 2013 9:52:30 PM Come on Jacksonville FD, make her the true hero she was. Always several ways to handle situations, she chose the right one in this case based on what she was presented. Common sense ain't so common in Jacksonville
Randy Smith Randy Smith Thursday, July 25, 2013 7:00:18 AM And once again, the "right to work" states show their muscle as another worker without any protection gets fired without legal recourse. The arrogant tone of the owner says it all.
Denise Hammack Denise Hammack Thursday, July 25, 2013 11:59:31 AM Silly thing, the oven was not even 7 steps away. If she was down the hall took a left or right went down another hall.....I could see you making this comment. Her child was in that room too.
Josh Drouard Josh Drouard Thursday, July 25, 2013 5:11:36 PM WTF?
Scott Rupert Scott Rupert Sunday, July 28, 2013 7:53:42 AM Bob, nowhere does the article say she started the fire, unless I missed it. This is a difficult one to take sides on. I can see it either way. I am a volunteer FF and the LAST fire I ever want to have to respnd to is at a Day Care. I personally would thank her for saving the lives of those kids. But explain what she did was not smart, just reactive.

FireRescue1 Offers

Fire Attack
Fire Attack

Sponsored by

Connect with FireRescue1

Mobile Apps Facebook Twitter Google+

Get the #1 Fire eNewsletter

Fire Newsletter Sign up for our FREE email roundup of the top news, tips, columns, videos and more, sent 3 times weekly
Enter Email
See Sample