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DECATUR — A Decatur father was given a notice to appear in court by police after firefighters responding to reports of a house fire found a 3-year-old girl alone in the residence.

The incident happened about 7:15 a.m. Tuesday at a home in the 1500 block of East Lawrence Street. Detective Sgt. Chris Copeland said police reports from the scene described the fire call as turning out to be overheated and smoking food left on a stove. This was confirmed by a fire department report, which also said an iron had been left on.

Firefighters searching the house found the sleeping girl and called in police. Copeland said the father returned home and said he had left the house about 7:15 a.m. which, if that time was correct, would mean he was gone for about 23 minutes.

“He said he had taken his other child to the bus stop and was also trying to chase his dog, which had gotten away,” Copeland said.

He said the father faces a preliminary charge of endangering the life or health of a child, which is subject to review by the Macon County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Copeland said the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services had been informed of the incident.

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Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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Macon County Courts Reporter

Macon County courts reporter for the Herald & Review.

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