Three Arkansas Children Home Alone Saved From Fire; Mom's Arrested

A neighbor was credited by authorities for getting the young girls to safety. Fire Marshal Chris Driggers said it appeared the fire was started deliberately.


FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) -- Two mothers were arrested for leaving three small children home without supervision in a house that caught fire. A neighbor was credited by authorities for getting the young girls to safety.

Dion Clements, 41, saw the home was on fire early Sunday morning and said he was immediately frightened for the children. Clements pulled the three girls - ages 9, 7 and 1 - from the burning structure. The children were treated for smoke inhalation and taken by the Department of Human Services.

Narce Rodriguez, 38, the mother of two of the children, and her daughter, 22-year-old Diana Rodriguez, the mother of one of the girls, were arrested. The women were at a nightclub at the time of the fire, police said. Prosecutors said formal child endangerment charges were pending but the women were taken to the Sebastian County Jail and held in lieu of $5,000 bond each.

Fire Marshal Chris Driggers said it appeared the fire was started deliberately at the back porch.

Clements said he had to go into the burning and smoky home to rescue the girls. He said the children told him their mothers had gone to the nightclub.

Officers arrested Narce and Diana Rodriguez at the El Azteca night spot in downtown Fort Smith.