Man charged after fire starts while children are home alone

Man charged after fire starts while children are home alone (Image 1)
Man charged after fire starts while children are home alone (Image 1)

A Memphis man was arrested after a fire started while three young children were home alone.

LocalMemphis.com reported that Jesse Townsend III was charged with three counts of aggravated child abuse and child neglect and one count of aggravated child abuse and endangerment.

His bond was set at $50,000.

Authorities said Townsend left the children, ages 2, 5 and 6, home alone at the Pendleton West Apartments Friday afternoon.

While he was gone, the kids started a fire while playing with a cigarette lighter. About 40 firefighters and emergency personnel responded to the scene. The children were rescued and no one was hurt.

The Memphis Fire Department said in a release that the residence did not have a working smoke detector, and three units were damaged by smoke, fire or water.

The building sustained about $25,000 in structural damage.

*LocalMemphis.com and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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