A Florida mother was charged with child neglect after she reportedly made no effort to rescue her 6-year-old daughter from their burning apartment.
Erica Rosello wept as she appeared before a judge on Feb. 20 and was held in lieu of $7,500 bail, according to WSVN.
The fire broke out in a first floor apartment on Feb. 18, and neighbors called for help when they saw smoke pouring from the windows.
When firefighters arrived, they heard a child screaming from inside.
“The bed was literally 2 feet from the window and I happened to see the little girl,” firefighter David Arrencibia told WFOR.
Rosello was reportedly inside the home when the blaze began, but by the time fire crews arrived, she had disappeared.
Arrencibia rescued 6-year-old Grace by climbing through the window. She was taken to hospital and treated for smoke inhalation and is expected to make a full recovery.
“I feel accomplished,” Arrencibia said. “I’m grateful that the situation was such that we were able to get her out as quickly as we did. Had we taken another three, four minutes the outcome would have been different.”
The court hearing granted custody of Grace to her maternal grandmother, Angelica Tabio.
Tabio stated that her daughter suffered from depression.
“She decided on her own that the medication was not going to help her, that she was going to start with natural herbs, so she started taking natural tea, taking natural supplements,” Tabio said of Rosello, according to WSVN. “She thought she was able to handle it by herself.”
Tabio added that Rosello assumed Grace was dead and took a taxi to visit a friend.
“When her friend calmed her down -- that friend has my phone number -- he called me, and the first thing she told me was, 'Mom, Grace is dead,’” Tabio said. “[I told her], 'What do you mean Grace is dead? No, Grace is here in the hospital.’”
Tabio added that the failure to treat Rosello’s mental health problems was to blame.
“This is something that could have been prevented if my daughter would have been helped,” she said. “I’ve asked for help from numerous agencies, and this is the end result.”
Rosello was set to post bail on Feb. 21. She has been banned from contacting her daughter or mother while under house arrest awaiting trial.