DUNDEE, OHIO – Three young children who were left home alone in Tuscarawas County escaped a house fire by running away and banging on a neighbor’s door for help.
“Me and my kids were just sleeping and all of a sudden, I just hear banging and screaming on my door and it’s the neighbor kids,” said a woman who called 911.
Caution tape surrounds the home on State Route 93 NW in the close-knit Dundee community where the children, ages 12, 10 and 8, managed to get out without serious injury.
Dispatchers received the 911 call around 11:20 p.m. Wednesday night of children “covered in smoke.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation and appears to be contained to the kitchen, according to investigators.
“My husband’s on the fire department so his pager went off. That’s when I heard it. A couple minutes later, I heard sirens it looked really smoky,” said Mary Troyer who lives nearby. “I saw the three children run out and at that time I didn’t even realize the parents weren’t at home yet.”
The Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident and potential charges for the parents, including child endangerment.
“One of the statements that was made to us particularly by one of the parents is ‘I thought they would be okay alone and nothing like this would happen,'” said Detective Sergeant Adam Fisher. “I think we oftentimes fall into that mentality of it doesn’t happen here.”
The parents reportedly gave several reasons why they were not at home, but those details were not shared by investigators. However, they say it was not related to employment.
“The kids acted in an appropriate manner in this situation. We couldn’t be happier, obviously, that they were able to get out of the house,” said Det. Sgt. Fisher.
He said all three children are safe and currently staying elsewhere.
Tuscarawas County Job and Family Services is also investigating the incident.