Boy causes house fire after caregiver leaves him home alone, deputies say

Volusia County deputies charge Mary Romines with child neglect

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – A DeLand woman is facing charges after first responders put out a house fire caused by an 11 year-old boy who was left home alone, the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies and Volusia County Fire Rescue responded to the home on Margaret Street on Saturday after getting a call about a structure fire.

The  boy told first responders he had been burning pieces of paper on the stove. Deputies said at some point a piece of paper flew off and landed on the boy's hand and ankle, burning him. The Sheriff's Office said the boy dropped the piece of paper, which caused his bedroom floor to catch on fire.

Fire crews quickly put out the fire and determined the boy was home alone. Deputies inspected the home and said it was in "deplorable condition."

Deputies contacted Mary Romines, 62. After interviewing her, Romines was arrested for child neglect. 

News 6 spoke to a woman who said she was a longtime friend of Romines. She didn't want to be identified, but said Romines is the grandmother of the boy who was left home alone.

The woman said Romines was at work when the fire happened.

"Mary works her butt off and does what she can. It was a pure accident and Mary is caught in the middle," the woman said.

The woman said Romines' husband died last year and her daughter, the boy's mother, is in jail. She said Romines has been trying to get custody of her grandson.

"The woman is good people and she doesn't deserve what she's getting at the moment," the woman said.

The Department of Children and Families took the boy into custody. Investigators said he suffered minor injuries due to the fire.

Romines is being held at the Volusia County jail on a $1,000 bond. 

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