Miami Firefighters Find Kids Alone in Home after Boy Yells 'Smoke'

Their 31-year-old mother was charged with two counts of child neglect.


Firefighters found two boys home alone Tuesday after one of them ran outside yelling that there was smoke in the home and neighbors called authorities, NBC 6's Sharon Lawson reported.

Mayra Morales, 31, was arrested and charged with two counts of child neglect after, police said, she left her 5-year-old and 9-year-old boys home alone for almost six hours.

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"These children were left in the house about 10:30 this morning by their mother, who went off to work a few blocks away and decided she'd just leave them in the house by themselves," said Detective Delrish Moss of the Miami Police Department.

Police said the boys were home alone in the 2100 block of Northwest 19th Street while Morales was at work at a nearby store.

"All explanations that we've gotten are totally unacceptable," Moss said.

The 9-year-old boy had apparently run out of the house screaming, "There's smoke in my home," alerting neighbors to call 911, Lawson reported.

Miami Fire Rescue arrived at the home to find no smoke or flames showing. When no one answered the front door, fire rescue workers entered through a side window.

"We did a search of the house. We didn't find any kids, but we found a locked bedroom. In order to get in, we had to force open that door, looked around, found a closet, opened it, where we found two kids, ages 9 and 5, huddled on the floor, scared," said Ignatius Carroll of Miami Fire Rescue.

Moments later, police said Morales raced home after being informed that police were at her residence.

"The message to parents here is you have to make arrangements. You cannot leave young kids home alone. Anything could happen," Moss said.

The two boys are in state custody until authorities find family members who can care for them.

Authorities said that because it is Morales' first arrest, she might not face prison time, but she might be forced to take parenting classes.

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