Local News

Parents Charged In Apartment Fire That Injured Toddler

Posted September 7, 2006

— Police on Wednesday filed charges against the parents of a 3-year-old who was badly injured in an apartment fire last month.

Travis Lathorpe Mason, 31, of 909 Price St. in Durham, and Saretha Faye Singletary, 29, of 574 Liberty St. in Durham, are each charged with four counts of child neglect, one count of felony child abuse and one count of attempted felony child abuse, police said.

Neither had been arrested as of Wednesday morning.

Firefighters pulled 3-year-old Zacheria Singletary from the smoke-filled residence in the Pinecrest Apartments on Hardee Street on Aug. 26 after she was found inside one of the bedrooms. An 8-year-old boy helped two other children, ages 10 and 7, to escape the apartment uninjured, authorities said.

The toddler spent nearly a week in Duke Children's Hospital recovering from excessive smoke inhalation.

Authorities said power in the apartment had been cut off, and a lit candle started the fire.

Investigators initially thought Mason and Saretha Singletary had also been inside the apartment at the time of the fire. But they later learned that the children had been home alone.

All four children are now in the care of the Department of Social Services in Hillsborough, police said.

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