Fire destroys day care center under construction; deputy injured in crash at scene

HOUSTON – A Harris County Sheriff's Office deputy was injured while she was working at a day care fire scene Tuesday morning in the Cypress area.

Firefighters were responding to a fire at a day care in the 12800 block of Huffmeister and had to run hoses across the street at Whispering Valley and Huffmeister because there was no hydrant nearby. A female deputy was attempting to block traffic with her patrol car to protect the hoses when a Ford Explorer slammed into the cruiser.

The deputy was taken to the hospital as a precaution. She's expected to be OK.

KPRC 2 News spoke with the man who hit the deputy.

"I was traveling westbound on Huffmeister, I actually had a doctor's appointment, and it was a little foggy. I was traveling about 25-30 miles per hour... a vehicle whipped around and probably she didn't see me. I applied my brake and turned a little to the right, but it was too late," Noel Blackman said. 

VIDEO: Man who hit deputy speaks with KPRC2

He said the deputy's air bag deployed, but his air bag did not. He said he helped the deputy out of the car.

"I'm glad EMS came and took her for observation. But she apparently is OK. In my heard, that's the most important thing," Blackman said. "It's just one of those unavoidable things. As long as there's no bodily damage to anybody, other than the property damage of the vehicle, I'm happy."

The day care, Growing Patch Childcare, was scheduled to open next month. Owner Andrea Pitts told KPRC 2 News that she was leasing the building and put a lot of work into getting the business ready for its opening.

"We want to have that American dream, want to have a small business. We want to put our kids in college," Pitts said.

She said she doesn't have insurance, and that she and her husband and five kids recently moved to the Cypress area from Cleveland, Ohio.

Hanna Khalil rents the property out to Pitts. He said he wanted to pay for a brand new facility and have Pitts run it.

"I am going to take care of that lady, her husband and her kids, and they are going to have a nice place," Khalil said.

No one was injured in the fire.


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