Sunrise residents return after fire that destroyed activities center

Published 8:33 am Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The 27 residents of Sunrise Children’s Services have been moved back in to the residential facility following a fire that destroyed their activities center.

“We are very much in need of donations right now, both cash and gift cards, to help with the financial burden because we know the process with the insurance company will take some time to work through,” said Melissa Bailey with Sunrise on Monday. “The gift cards will be especially helpful with replacing sports equipment and games lost in the fire — things like basketballs, kickballs, jump ropes, board games …”

A post on Sunrise’s Facebook page said staff and the boys who live at the facility near Millennium Park are “very happy to be back.”

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“We’re thankful for everyone’s safety and that none of the housing units or other buildings on the property were damaged. The help we received from first responders at the police and fire departments, who stayed with us to the end Friday, was truly amazing,” the post reads. “We are so grateful for the outpouring of compassion, prayers and eagerness to help by so many in the community — even those in other areas of the state who know and love our children’s ministry.

“The activity center was so much more than just a place to play ball for these boys. They made arts and crafts there. They watched movies there. They participated in art and music that were an integral part of their treatment and therapy. It was also used as a meeting space by the community. That building was the center hub, the heartbeat of the campus, and it will be greatly missed by many.”

Fire crews were called to Sunrise Children’s Services for a fully engulfed structure fire just after noon Friday; the activities center was completely destroyed in the blaze.

Battalion Chief Mike Mullholland with Danville Fire said last week when crews got on the scene, the blaze was through the roof of the structure. 

“We had actually tried to fight it from the inside. We entered it for a brief second but knew it was too far gone,” Mullholland said.

Bailey said anyone wishing to donate money to the organization can do so by visiting The organization is also taking donations at its location off of Cunningham Drive during regular business hours.

No cause for the fire has been determined. Doug Simpson, Boyle County Fire Marshal said Monday that “the fire will be under investigation for a while.”

Advocate-Messenger staff writer Robin Hart contributed to this report.