Mom of 3-year-old boy rescued from Jasper County house fire charged

Mom of 3-year-old boy rescued from Jasper County house fire charged
EMS personnel treat Sheriff's Deputy Cody Downs for smoke inhalation. (Source: KJAS.com)
Pictured is the scene of the house fire on FM 3414. (Source: KJAS.com)
Pictured is the scene of the house fire on FM 3414. (Source: KJAS.com)

JASPER COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - In the wake of an incident in which a Jasper County sheriff's deputy suffered smoke inhalation after he rescued a 3-year-old boy from a house fire, the child's mother has been charged with child endangerment.

Tiara Johnson, 26, was charged with abandoning or endangering a child with imminent bodily danger. Her bond amount has been set at $100,000.

According to a press release, Jasper County Sheriff Mitchel Newman said that his office obtained an arrest warrant for Johnson after three young children were left at a mobile home on FM 3414 on the night of June 2, when a fire broke out at the residence.

JCSO Deputy Cody Downs saved the 3-year-old boy, who is the youngest of the three children in the home, after he was the first person on the scene.

Newman said in the press release that JCSO investigators interviewed Johnson, and she said admitted to leaving her three children home alone. He added that this was not the first time that Johnson had been investigated by an agency for leaving the children unattended.

After the arrest warrant was issued for Johnson, the sheriff's office contacted her and asked if she wanted to turn herself into authorities. Newman said Johnson arrived at the sheriff's office a short time later, and she was arrested.

According to a previous East Texas News story, Newman said that the sheriff's office received the 911 call about the fire at about 10:15 p.m. Saturday. Downs was only a few miles down the road when the call came in, and he got there within minutes.

"I think he arrived at 10:17 p.m.," Newman said. "God had a thing to do with that."

When he arrived, the residence was burning, and the deputy was told there was a child in the back bedroom of the home. Downs had been in the home before and knew the layout, Newman said. He was able to quickly get to the child and get him out.

The child was taken to a hospital to be treated and was later released. Newman said the child is OK.

Downs was flown to a hospital in Galveston where he was treated for smoke inhalation. He was released Sunday and is expected to be off for a few days for recovery.

Three children were home at the time of the fire - ages 7, 5 and 3. Newman said the two eldest were able to escape unharmed.

Jasper and Angelina county fire departments responded to the fire.

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