Man who left kids alone charged after fire
MIAMI (WSVN) -- As two small children continue to recover in the hospital from injuries sustained during a fire after they were left home alone, the man who was supposed to be watching them faced a judge.
Andrew Richard Sepulveda, 31, appeared in bond court Thursday morning where a judge found probable cause to raise his bond amount from $15,000 to $25,000. Police arrested him Wednesday night on charges of child neglect with great bodily harm.
Miami-Dade Police and Fire Rescue said the children, a 4-year-old boy and 6-year-old girl, could not make it out of the house, located on the 100th block of Martinique Drive, because they were locked inside a room. Authorities were alerted to the scene when Sepulveda called 911 after he arrived to the house to find it engulfed in flames.
Neighbor Lee Leemaster witnessed the arrival of rescue crews. "And I looked out the window and I saw the red fire rescue [truck] go by, and I said, 'Protect them all,'" she said. "I didn't know them, I just prayed to God at this moment," she continued.
Sepulveda told rescuers that the children were inside the house. Fire rescue crews pulled the children out of the home, gave them CPR and airlifted them to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Police said the young girl suffered severe smoke inhalation injuries.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Arnold Piedrahita said, "It seems like they were overcome with smoke, they were unconscious, unresponsive, not breathing. Fire rescue crews worked these kids feverishly and were able to regain a pulse and a blood pressure."
Police then turned around and arrested Sepulveda on neglect charges. The children's family confirmed Sepulveda was supposed to be watching them. "The kids, they weren't supposed to be alone," said Moreese Moise, the children's uncle. Moise indicated the victims' mother paid Sepulveda to baby-sit them. "I guess he was supposed to be watching them. I don't know what happened," he said.
Miami-Dade Police Det. Roy Rutland said Sepulveda's behavior is inexcusable. "It's clear there is absolutely no excuse to leave a 4-year-old and a six-year old in that house alone," he said, "it's clear from his actions that he is responsible for what occurred here."
The children remain hospitalized as they recover from their injuries.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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