An Independence man has been charged with child endangerment after two small children he allegedly left unattended set a fire inside a car.
Jason T. Decota, 42, is charged in Jackson County Circuit Court with two felony counts.
He allegedly left the children, ages 6 and 3, in a car Tuesday night while he went inside a church in the 1300 block of South Osage to pick up his daughter, according to court documents.
About 10 minutes later, witnesses saw smoke coming from the vehicle.
One child got out on his own. A bystander pulled the other child from the vehicle, which quickly became engulfed in flames. One child may have suffered smoke inhalation, but neither had other injuries.
Police noted that the car had one window opened two to three inches and the outside temperature was 92 degrees, according to court documents.
Decota told police that he left the children for about five minutes. Asked if it could have been 10 minutes, he replied, “I could be wrong,” according to court documents.
He told officers that one child must have started the fire with a cigarette lighter in the vehicle.