Deland, FL – A 62-year-old woman is charged with child neglect after deputies found an 11-year-old boy home alone after accidentally starting a fire.
Volusia County deputies were dispatched to 833 Margaret Street in DeLand, the home of Mary Romines, at around 11:30 Saturday morning for a structure fire. Volusia County Fire was already on the scene fighting a fire in a bedroom. The fire was quickly contained.
Deputies questioned the boy, who admitted he was setting pieces of paper on fire when he dropped one because it burned his fingers. A deputy entered the home and found it in deplorable condition. The living room was strewn with clothing, trash and what appeared to be animal fecal matter. The kitchen had dirty dishes stacked on the countertops. A deputy noted there were ashes and smoke damage around the stove and moldy food in the refrigerator.
In the boy’s bedroom, clothing, some of it burnt, and trash covered the floor. The deputy determined that the residence was not in a livable condition. The boy was taken to Florida Hospital DeLand for treatment of a small burn on a finger and another on his left inner ankle.
At the hospital, the boy told deputies that it wasn’t the first time he played with fire. Approximately two weeks ago, he dropped a burning piece of paper on his clothes. He said that Romines left him alone from 8 a.m. until noon and then from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. most days.
The boy was taken into state custody. He told police he was living with Romines because his mother is incarcerated. Animals at the residence were removed by Volusia County Animal Control and transported to the West Volusia Humane Society.
Deputies arrested Romines when she arrived at the residence just before 2 p.m.