Babysitter charged after kids start motel fire with lighter

State News
Fire investigators say two young children who were left alone in a suburban Houston motel room were playing with a lighter that caused a three-alarm fire, resulting in minor injuries to seven people. (CNN VAN photo)

HOUSTON (AP) — Warrants have been issued charging a babysitter with child abandonment after she left two young children alone in a suburban Houston motel room, leaving them to play with a lighter that caused a three-alarm fire .

During the fire on Wednesday at the Motel 6 North just off Interstate 45 in Spring, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Houston, seven people suffered minor injuries. Rachel Moreno, spokeswoman for the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office, said the two siblings, ages 3 and 6, were among the seven.

The warrants issued Thursday charge Tara Elizabeth Piccione, 31, with two counts of child abandonment with intent to return. Witnesses say she was seen returning to the motel with a pizza as the motel was being evacuated.

Piccione had yet to be arrested Thursday night.

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