While fighting an apartment fire, Dallas firefighters rescued a 3-year-old boy who was left home alone.
Firefighters found the scared child when they broke down the door of the Oak Lawn-area apartment. Dallas police said a cardboard pizza box inside the oven caught fire when the boy turned on the oven.
"Thank God the neighbors smelled the smoke and heard the smoke detectors, and thank God they were working," Senior Cpl. Kevin Janse said. "The young child didn't know what he'd done."
Police said the child's mother, Gregteisha Smith, 28, left her son at the apartment for about 45 minutes. She told police she went to pick up a set of keys.
"Anything could have happened," said Mary Lopez, who manages the apartment complex. "It wouldn't have taken her that long to put the child in the car with her and do whatever."
Smith is charged with a felony count of child abandonment.
Neighbors called 911 to report smoke and flames coming from her apartment on Congress Avenue.
Firefighters said the boy was smart enough to go out on the balcony to escape the smoke and flames until they could reach him.
"They had a large ax," neighbor Ronald Carter said. "All I could hear was 'bam, bam,' they hit that door hard."
"It's just to show that anything can happen in just a matter of seconds," Lopez said. "It could have been worse."
Smith was being held Thursday night in the Dallas County Jail. Her son is in the custody of his grandmother.