Darlington PD: 7 year-old left alone in smoke-filled apartment with marijuana

Left: Latisha Harris, 30 Right: Timothy Smith, 27
Left: Latisha Harris, 30 Right: Timothy Smith, 27

DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - Neighbors in a Darlington apartment complex reported heavy smoke creeping into their room from the apartment directly below them, according to an incident report. When firefighters arrived, they found a 7 year-old boy, alone in the apartment.

"We thought we were just going on call for smoke in an apartment. When we got there, there was already two firefighters on scene trying to get into the apartment... Then all of a sudden a little boy opens the door," said Lieutenant Heyward Shoemake of the Darlington Fire Department.

Officials say the 7 year-old boy was in the smoke-filled apartment at the Springfield Apartments alone on Thursday night around 10:15pm.

Firefighters with the Darlington Fire Department say they felt something wasn't right and called Darlington Police to the scene.

Officials say 30 year-old Latisha Harris left her son at home while she took her husband, 27 year-old Timothy Smith to work at an IHOP in Florence.

"When he answered the door, he wasn't wearing anything... He only had underwear on, no socks. When we got him out of the home one of our firefighters took his jacket off and gave it to him," said Shoemake.

He says three pots of food were left cooking on the stove creating thick smoke. The smoke filled the house and even spread to the apartment directly above it.

"The smoke was so bad, it looked like the apartment was on fire," said Shoemake.

Darlington Fire Rescue was able to control the heavy smoke with exhaust fans.

After the smoke cleared, Darlington police say they found marijuana in the apartment. The investigation led to the arrest of Harris and Smith, one of the charges being child neglect.

"The parents should be more cautious of what they do and take more responsibility for what they've done," said Shoemake.

"Thank goodness for the alertness from the neighbors above and the fire departments quick response, a tragedy was avoided," said Sergeant Kimberly Nelson of the Darlington Police Department.

DSS took the 7 year-old boy into custody. He is now staying with a family member as the investigation continues.

Both Harris and Smith have been released from the Darlington County Detention Center. Harris on a $11,500 cash surety bond and Smith on a $10,630 surety bond.

Their case has been passed on to the solicitor's office.

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