Daycare Teacher Fired for Leaving Classroom to Save Children from Fire

Going above and beyond the call of duty normally earns an employee praise from his or her superiors, but one daycare teacher in Florida says she was fired for doing more than was required by her job description.

Michelle Hammack was inside her classroom at the Little Temples Childcare in Jacksonville, when she suddenly smelled smoke.

"I just leaned over and peeked around and there was a fire in the oven," she told WTEV's Action News. "I ran in there and opened it to try to put it out, and the fire alarm started going off."

With little time to assess the scope of the situation, Hammack quickly headed back into the classroom, and awoke the children from their nap.

She then escorted them outside, and rushed back in to make sure no children were left behind.

The second time around Hammack could clearly see the oven fire was small enough to manage on her own, and so she put it out herself before the fire trucks arrived.

Having saved the facility and its children from a potentially dangerous fire, Hammack was understandably shocked the next day when the facility's owner, Olga Rozhaov, fired her.

"I fired her only because she left her room," Rozhaov told the CBS affiliate. "Even though children are sleeping, the teachers are supposed to be there."

The local fire department confirmed that an oven fire had indeed occurred, and that it was extinguished by Hammack.

And Hammack says she acted out of concern that the fire would have spread had she stayed put.

But Rozhaov refused to budge, insisting that protocol superseded Hammack's concerns.

"It's not acceptable, and if anybody else does the same thing, I will fire again," Rozhaov said. "I will fire them. No question."

The Department of Children and Families has since launched an investigation into the incident.

[H/T: Opposing Views, screengrab via WTEV]