Babysitter accused of leaving kids who started fire alone arrested

SPRING, Texas (KTRK) -- A babysitter who left two children alone at a Motel 6 before the kids sparked a massive fire has been arrested.

Tara Piccione, 31, was booked into Harris County jail on two counts of child abandonment.

RELATED: Children left alone by babysitter spark motel fire: fire marshal

Back on Oct. 9, a three-alarm fire broke out at the Motel 6 off I-45 and Cypresswood, destroying much of the property.

Investigators said Piccione was the person put in the care of a 3-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl. The kids' mother and Piccione are friends.

The Harris County Fire Marshal's Office said the children were playing with a lighter when the bedding in their motel room caught fire.

According to documents reviewed by ABC13, the boy and girl were left in the motel room. The girl noticed the bed was on fire. She saw that her brother, who had been playing with the lighter, had set it on fire. The documents further state the little girl grabbed her little brother and went outside to the hallway where other adults got involved.

As residents began evacuating the motel, documents show that's when Piccione apparently walked back into the Motel 6 with a pizza box.

SEE ALSO: Babysitter got pizza while kids sparked motel fire: documents

Documents show the children's mother handed over care of her two kids Oct. 8 to Piccione. She was able to go to the hospital after the fire and meet up with her children.

Seven people, including two children, were transported to hospitals for smoke inhalation after the blaze engulfed the building, leaving a massive hole in the roof.

The fire marshal's office said some people were living at the motel when it erupted in flames. About 30 rooms were being occupied at the time of the fire, displacing 25 families in all.

RELATED: Mom 'not angry' with babysitter who left kids alone when they started Motel 6 fire

In an interview with ABC13, Dayeisha Finley, the children's mother, said she wasn't angry with her friend and that Piccione was getting pizza for the kids when she left them alone.

"She just simply told my daughter, 'Stay here, watch your brother, I'm just going to go grab some pizza," Finley said. "Tara called me and she was, I couldn't understand nothing, she was all over until she said 'I just believe I'm going to jail.'"

Finley's children were treated for smoke inhalation but were expected to be OK.

Court documents show Piccione's bond was set at $2,000.

WATCH: Families wait for refunds after motel went up in flames
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The fire was sparked by children who were left alone by their babysitter, authtorities said.

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