A Fresno mother who left her three children alone in an apartment that caught fire has been released from the Fresno County Jail and will be supervised by county probation officials pending her trial in Fresno County Superior Court.
Jamela Vanessa Brown, 19, was released from jail at 9:25 p.m. Monday after Judge Wayne Ellison ruled that she qualified for pretrial honor release.
While free, Brown must stay in contact with probation officials and wear an electronic monitor on her ankle, said attorney D.J. Brickey, who represents her.
Ellison also said Brown can have limited visitation with her children through Child Protective Services, Brickey said.
“She’s ecstatic about getting to see her children again,” Brickey said.
Brown was arrested Jan. 28 and charged with three counts of felony child endangerment/child abuse.
Police said Brown left her children, ages 1, 3 and 4, in the family’s southwest Fresno apartment for at least 30 minutes on Jan. 25 while she walked to a store more than half a mile away. While she was gone, a fire broke out, filling the apartment with toxic black smoke.
Firefighters responding to the apartment at 851 E. Church Ave. found the three children unconscious, the television on fire and the home engulfed in smoke.
In announcing Brown’s arrest, Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the children suffered severe smoke inhalation. The 3-year-old girl also had a minor burn on her left palm. Dyer said doctors believe all three will recover but will have ongoing medical conditions.
The children likely would have died had firefighters arrived three to five minutes later, Dyer said.
Brown had just returned from the store when she saw her apartment was on fire. Dyer said she notified firefighters that her three children were inside and unlocked the security door so they could complete the rescue.
She had the only key available to the security door, the chief said.
Brown’s next court hearing is Feb. 25.