The Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven in Woodbridge was closed on Tuesday after a 4-alarm fire late Monday afternoon.
The call for the fire at the JCC on Amity Road came in around 3:45 p.m.
All staff were able to evacuate the building "safely and efficiently."
"Our main concern was the kids and that's what we did," Celeste Baez, who is a head teacher at the Yeladim Early Learning Center, said.
The staff found shelter at the Brookdale of Woodbridge during the investigation.
Two firefighters were taken to Yale New Haven Hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning. One firefighter remained in the hospital on Tuesday morning, but is expected to "make a full recovery."
The fire appears to have started in the sauna and was under control just before 5 p.m. Firefighters from Prospect, Bethany, Seymour, and Orange assisted in fighting the fire.
Before the fire was knocked within an hour, the fire caused smoke and water damage throughout the building.
"We do have extensive damage on the lower level from the fire and the water so that's going to take some time," Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven CEO Judy Alperin Diamondstein said. "But, the upper level was mostly smoke damage and I think we can recover from that."
The investigation into the fire continued on Tuesday. Diamondstein said she's been working closely with the fire department, fire marshal and her staff to come up with ways to open their doors once again.
"I'm pushing everyone really, really hard I'd like to see us back up and running tomorrow," Diamondstein said. "Folks tell me I may be a little ambitious, it might be Thursday, but we will this week reopen our child care."
Diamondstein said she's been in contact with their local partners such as, area synagogues and pools to find temporary spaces to resume some of their services.
Baez was getting her young students ready for snack at the Yeladim Early Learning Center when the fire alarm started on Monday afternoon.
"I grabbed the bag, the emergency bag," Baez said. "My assistant teacher grabbed the attendance sheet."
Baez said she ushered all of the kids outside of the JCC and walked with them to their designated meeting spot.
"After that, they told us to call the parents," Baez said. "We called the parents and then they started telling us something happened in the sauna."
Anyone who needs to retrieve keys, wallets, or medication from the JCC will be allowed to enter the building around 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and again from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
"We're not going to stop," Diamondstein said. "We have a big mission to fill and we're going to do it everyday."
To see photos of the damage, click here.
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