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Cyprus

Absent parents face trial after 3-year-old accidentally sets house on fire

The parents who had left their two underage children at home unsupervised on Monday afternoon leading to their three-year-old son setting the house on fire, were freed conditionally by the Limassol district court on Tuesday.

A case of abandonment of two underage children was filed against the parents by the court on Tuesday, with the trial being set for January 17 after the defendants requested legal counsel.

The parents were released pending trial, upon the conditions that they pay a €10,000 guarantee each and present themselves twice weekly at a police station.

According to the police, the fire broke out at around 4pm on Monday afternoon on the ground floor of a house in the Ayios Ioannis area in Limassol.

Two minors, a three-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl, were in the house unsupervised at the time of the fire.

Police reported that the 12-year-old girl was asleep, while the three-year-old, who is believed to have started the fire by playing with a lighter, was in the living room where the fire started.

Upon noticing the outbreak of fire, a neighbour, along with the help of a driver passing by, managed to get the children out. They were taken to the Limassol general hospital for precautionary medical care.

Two fire trucks were called to the scene. Firefighters doused the fire which left the house completely destroyed.

The parents of the children were arrested later on Monday night. The father told police that he had gone to the butcher’s at the time of the outbreak of fire, while the mother claimed she had gone to the supermarket.

The social welfare services, who have been assigned the temporary custody of the two children, said in an announcement that as the investigation develops, it “will seek to ensure the care and protection of the minors,” adding that “the purpose is to provide support to the children while aiming for the least possible psycho-emotional impact.”

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