Mom arrested for allegedly setting home on fire; leaving kids inside
Police say LaToya Bell set her home on fire and left her children inside, fleeing the scene. (Source: Columbus Police Department)
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -
LaToya Bell, the mother accused of setting her house on fire with her three children inside, appeared in Recorder's Court Thursday morning. She is charged with obstruction of an officer, four counts of aggravated assault, three counts of cruelty to children, and arson.
The judge set "no bond" on the arson charge.
Firefighters arrived on Linden Circle to find flames filling an empty house, set on fire. There were three children inside minutes before they got there, abandoned by their mother, Latoya Bell. She's now charged with arson and three counts of reckless conduct.
Witnesses say you couldn't tell how bad the blaze was until firefighters arrived and kicked open the front door of the house. The first thing they did was to throw out this couch. The fire actually started in one of the back rooms.
One neighbor was in her home when she heard the fire trucks arrive.
"I was sitting at home and the next thing I know I started seeing fire trucks coming down the road and I came out and next thing I know they were all running to this house here. And the house was on fire and they were busting the doors down," said Roswhitha Moore.
She saw a young man run into the house. He helped the three kids, the oldest of which was 6, out of the house, out of danger.
Moore said, "I just think that Eric, the one who pulled the children out deserves a lot of respect because he is the one who went in there and got the kids out before anything happened to them."
We tried to find this hero, but neighbors tell us, he doesn't want any recognition for his actions.
Moore also said, the father, who lived in the home, went in and took a baby out, leaving three other kids inside.
The kids' grandmother and uncle picked them up early Wednesday morning.
As for the fire, total damage is still being estimated. And the house stands empty now with bikes and toys littering the yard.