Cuyahoga Falls: Children home alone rescued from fire

11:25 PM, May 4, 2012   |    comments
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CUYAHOGA FALLS - Three children were rescued early Friday morning after they were found sleeping in a smoke-filled apartment in Cuyahoga Falls.

The children, two five-year-olds and a six-year-old, were home alone at the time they were found. All of the children were taken to the hospital for treatment.

Firefighters were called at 4:49 a.m. to the apartment fire on Prange Drive at the Honey Locust Gardens.

Crews arrived to find fire in an apartment that spread to a 2nd unit with heavy smoke in a 3rd.

The first firefighters on the scene rescued the occupant of the front unit. The man was taken to the hospital with serious burns.

Neighbors say they tried to knock on the door to see if anyone was home in the apartment where the children were sleeping.

When no one answered, they assumed the mother and her kids were not home.

As fire fighters went door to door clearing the smoke-filled units, they discovered the three little girls, two sisters and a cousin hiding under a blanket on a bed.

Police and CSB were called for the children.

The adult responsible for the children was located later at her place of employment. The Cuyahoga Falls Police Department filed three counts of misdemeanor child endangering charges against the 27-year-old mother, Morgan Maffett.

Maffett was working an overnight shift at the nursing home where she is employed. 

She turned herself in to police after her children were released from the hospital.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. No damage estimate is available.

While there were working smoke detectors inside the apartments, fire fighters say children often do not wake up to a smoke alarm.  

Assistant Chief Gary Merton says fire fighter associations are pushing for more smoke detectors with talking features, that convey a warning with a recorded message.

The Children Services Board of Summit County is working with Maffett to find alternative care for her children while she works.

While there is no age that children can legally be allowed to stay home alone, social workers say five and six years old is far too young.


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