A Miami mother has been arrested after police say she left her crying 6-year-old daughter in a burning apartment and then ran away after the girl was rescued by firefighters.
Erica Rosello, 32, was charged with child neglect with great bodily harm, a felony, the Miami Herald reports.
The girl, Grace, was taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, but is expected to be OK. She is in the care of her grandmother.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Neighbor Says Rosello Told Him ‘No, It’s Not a Fire’ as She Left the Apartment
The fire happened last Thursday night at the Versailles Gardens Condominiums, NBC Miami reports.
Authorities believe the blaze began in the kitchen and intensified when Rosello dumped water on the oil fire. Rosello then left the apartment with her daughter still in a bedroom.
A neighbor told police he saw Rosello as she left the apartment. He said there was smoking coming out of her front door, Local 10 reports. The neighbor said he asked Rosello if something was on fire, and she replied, “no, it’s not a fire.”
The neighbor said he asked if someone was still inside, and Rosello said her daughter was. The neighbor pulled a fire alarm and called 911, but couldn’t get back into the apartment to get to the girl, the news station reports.
2. Firefighters Smashed a Window & Pulled the Girl to Safety
Firefighters arrived and could hear the girl crying from the bedroom, the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department says.
“The bed was literally two feet from the window and I happened to see the little girl,” Miami-Dade Firefighter David Arrencibia told CBS Miami. He said they couldn’t wait for a ladder, so he smashed a window and was boosted into the bedroom by his partner. He found the girl in the smoke.
“I could tell she was unconscious,” said Arrencibia, who picked her up and carried her back out of the window.
“I feel accomplished. 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,” Arrencibia said.
The girl was rushed to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and was treated for smoke inhalation, but is expected to be OK.
Her grandmother, who is now caring for her, told WSVN she is grateful for the firefighters. “Thank you so much for the rescue that saved my granddaughter, ’cause it would have been a different story,” Angelica Tabio said.
3. Her Mother Says Rosello Did Not Hear Her Daughter & Thought She Had Died
Rosello’s mother told reporters her daughter panicked and left the apartment because she didn’t hear her daughter. Rosello thought her daughter had died.
Police say that while firefighters were rescuing the girl, Rosello got a ride to a friend’s house. The girl’s grandmother went to the hospital and later got a call from Rosello.
“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,'” Angelica Tabio told WSVN. “[I told her], ‘What do you mean Grace is dead? No, Grace is here in the hospital.'”
4. Rosello Cried in Court After She Was Barred From Seeing Her Daughter & Her Mother
Rosello cried when she appeared in court last week and was told by a judge that she is barred from seeing her daughter and her mother while the case is pending, NBC Miami reports.
According to online court records, Rosello remains in custody. She is being held at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on $7,500 bail. She will be under house arrest if she is released, court records show.
Rosello was arrested in 2014 and charged with DUI, leaving the scene of an accident and other traffic offenses after a car crash in Pompano Beach, Florida, court records show. The outcome of that case was not immediately available. NBC Miami reports she has also previously been charged with child neglect.
5. She Has Suffered From Postpartum Depression, Her Mother Says
Rosello’s mother told WSVN-TV she suffered from postpartum depression after giving birth to the now-6-year-old girl. She has also suffered from clinical depression since then, Angelica Tabio told the news station.
“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. “She thought she was able to handle it by herself.”
Tabio said the incident could’ve been prevented if Rosello had been given the help she needed.
“This is something that could have been prevented if my daughter would have been helped. I’ve asked for help from numerous agencies, and this is the end result,” Tabio told the news station. “For a period of five years, we have gone together to get help, and it was never provided.”