The Precious Moments Nursery at 3776 Clairmont Road was shut down by the city of Brookhaven May 8 for allegedly operating illegally. (Special)

The Precious Moments Nursery daycare center at 3776 Clairmont Road in Brookhaven was shut down May 8 by the city’s fire marshal for allegedly operating an illegal business and for having several fire safety code violations.

The facility was issued a stop work order and a citation for occupancy without a certificate of occupancy. A total of 15 children, most under 18 months old, were at the location, according to the city.

City officials said the owners of the nursery filed a certificate of occupancy from the city with state officials in 2018, but the city had not issued the business a certificate of occupancy, also known as a CO. A CO is necessary before an building in the city can be occupied for business.

“They were never issued a certificate of occupancy, yet they filed a forged document with the state of Georgia,” said Brookhaven Fire Marshal Joe Burge in a city press release. “The Georgia Department of Early Care [and Learning] called us to inquire about their paperwork, which is how we were alerted to the problem.”

The state Department of Early Care and Learning licenses child care centers and home-based child care.

City Manager Christian Sigman said in a written statement the CO was not issued because the building did not meet minimum safety requirements. Besides sprinkler violations, the building did not have fire protection barriers between the two floors and did not have safe entry and exit points, according to the city.

A message left with Precious Moments Nursery was not immediately returned.

Brookhaven officials did issue Precious Moments Nursery its COs from 2014-2017 when it was located at 3708 Clairmont Road.