"There were no adults at home," Amarillo Fire Captain Wes Hall said, speaking about a house fire that killed a 2-year-old toddler. "There were five children home alone at the time of the fire."
A 2-year-old toddler's life was claimed early Wednesday morning during a fire at a north Amarillo home.
Four others were also inside the home when the fire ignited, ranging in ages up to 13, fire officials said. A 7-year-old who was also inside the home upon firefighters arrival was injured and transported to Northwest Texas Hospital.
Officials are not commenting any further as to the whereabouts of any sort of parent or guardian of the children.
Contrary to what some may believe, there is no law in the State of Texas that sets a minimum age for a child to be left home alone, according to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS).
"There are no laws in Texas that say a child has to be a certain age to be left at home," said Lara Escobar, Amarillo Area CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Case Manager Supervisor. "So, the parents really have to take into consideration the maturity of their child. Have they gone over safety procedures? Do they know what to do in the case of an emergency?"
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services says on its website there are several factors that should be taken into consideration when deciding supervision of a child. Some of those factors include age, emotional maturity, capability, home settings, neighborhood circumstances and hazards among others.
Additionally, TDFPS says a factor should include: "the child's ability to respond to illness, fire, weather, or other types of emergencies."
"My opinion is that a child should NEVER be left alone," said Pronews 7 Facebook fan Steve. "Now as for as caring for other children I think 14 or 15. At that age they should be responsible enough to know what to do in case of an emergency."
Others say that each situation should be evaluated separately.
"I would imagine that each situation is different, there isn't one right age," said Pronews 7 Facebook fan Susan. "It depends on the maturity level of the older child, and the needs of the younger child(ren). Clearly, the children that were left in the house alone where the toddler died weren't left with a babysitter that was old enough."
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