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Young girl pulled from burning apartment in west Miami-Dade

Mother arrested for leaving 6-year-old daughter at home alone, police say

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A 6-year-old girl was pulled from a burning apartment Thursday night in west Miami-Dade County and her mother has been arrested after leaving her alone at home, police said.

Erica Rosello, 32, was arrested Friday after her mother convinced her to come to Nicklaus Children's Hospital, where she was met by detectives, Miami-Dade police said.

According to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials, the child was alone at the Versailles Gardens apartment complex on Flagler Street and 94th Avenue when the fire started.

Firefighters broke a window and found the girl in a hot bedroom filled with smoke.

"I was panic stricken because I didn't know what was going on," Elena Gomez, who lives in the unit above the burning apartment, said.

According to an arrest report, Rosello was in the hallway of the building when a neighbor saw smoke coming out of her front door. The witness told police that he asked Rosello if something was on fire and she said, "No, it's not a fire."

When asked if anyone was inside, she said only her daughter, the neighbor said.

Police said the neighbor pulled the fire alarm and called 911, but he was unable to get inside before firefighters arrived and extinguished the flames.

Authorities said the girl was unable to speak because of smoke inhalation, but firefighters were able to pull her out of the apartment through the window and take her to Nicklaus Children's Hospital.

According to detectives, Rosello quickly left after firefighters pulled her daughter out. They said she called her mother to find out about her daughter's condition, and the woman convinced Rosello to come to the hospital and cooperate with the investigation.

The child, who is now in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families, is expected to recover.

The apartment building was evacuated Thursday night as a precaution, but authorities said only one apartment unit was destroyed.

Authorities said they believe that the fire started in the kitchen.

It's unclear where either of the girl's parents were when the fire first started, but Gomez said they were likely working.

"Unfortunately, they have to work and they can't find somebody to take care of the child, but there's always the risk," Gomez said.

Still, Gomez said she understands why the girl was taken into DCF custody.

"I think it's the right thing to do. You can't leave a 5 year old by themselves. That's crazy," she said.

A shelter hearing has been scheduled for Saturday in Miami.

Rosello faces a charge of child neglect resulting in great bodily harm. She has previously been arrested on child neglect and DUI charges.


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