Mom accused of leaving baby home alone when kitchen fire broke out

30-year-old is charged with child endangerment

HOUSTON - A Pasadena mother is facing charges, accused of leaving her child alone inside her apartment which caught on fire.

It was some alert maintenance workers who heard the smoke detectors go off. Firefighters say when they arrived at that upstairs apartment unit, they saw the flames and soon they found a baby.

Nivda Arzu Barrios, 30, is charged with child endangerment. Pasadena police say she left food cooking on the stove in her apartment in the 3600 block of Shaver Street and took one of her 6-week-old twin babies to the store and left the other one at home alone.

After extinguishing a small kitchen fire, authorities say they found the baby asleep on a bed.

"Just can't leave the children home alone by themselves, because anything could happen," said neighbor Juan Sanchez.

He says he doesn't know the mother, who is now in jail. But he says the Barrios could have asked any of her neighbors to watch her baby while she went to the store.

"There should always be someone taking care of the children or have a neighbor they can trust, you know," Sanchez said.

"Baby appears to be OK. Turned into different tragedy had this not been found right away," said Estella Olguin with Children Protective Services.

CPS is investigating the case. The twins were placed in the custody of their father.

"Normally if in these kinds of cases, children go stay with protective relative or parent," Olguin said.

Before deciding if the mother can regain custody, Olguin says CPS will determine if it was a one-time event or if Barrios had a history of leaving one or both of her twin babies alone in the apartment.

The mother now faces up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine. She's charged with child endangerment.

CPS says it has no history of investigating the mother or calls to the apartment.

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