Babysitter charged after kids start motel fire with lighter

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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.

Seven people suffered minor injuries in Wednesday’s fire at the Motel 6 North just off Interstate 45 in Spring, about 20 miles north of Houston.

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 31-year-old Tara Elizabeth Piccione 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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