#childabuse | Stepmom was drinking before firework injured child, deputies say

A woman was drinking when she lit fireworks in a vehicle with her two stepsons, ultimately causing a fire that left one of the boys permanently disfigured, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said the fire, which destroyed a vehicle and a trailer, happened Halloween night.

Tiffany Harrod, 36, had been at a party with her husband and two stepsons, ages 5 and 8, then came home and was supposed to be getting the children ready for bed but instead, got them out of bed and asked them to shoot off fireworks with her, records show.

One of the boys said Harrod had been drinking Crown Royal and she wanted more alcohol, but she left the bottle at the party, according to the affidavit.

Harrod lit a firework on the porch and the debris rained down on her and the children, authorities said. She wanted to drive back to the party but didn’t have the keys to the vehicle, so instead she tried to start the vehicle with a quarter, records show.

Deputies said Harrod sat in the driver’s seat of the vehicle, the 8-year-old boy sat in the front seat and the 5-year-old boy sat in the backseat then Harrod lit a mortar-style firework and pointed it toward the open passenger side door.

The firework fell on the floorboard of the vehicle after it was lit and when the boy tried to grab the firework to throw it outside, it exploded in his hand, according to authorities.

The boy said he lost consciousness after the explosion and when he woke up, the vehicle was on fire and Harrod and his brother were on the porch, records show.

Deputies said the two boys and Harrod ran inside and Harrod tried to clean the blood off the 8-year-old boy’s hand. The two children took off their blood-covered clothes and grabbed towels to cover themselves with then ran outside through the back door as the home caught fire, according to the affidavit.

A neighbor who saw the flames called 911 and tried to help the boy.

Harrod, who was holding her stepdaughter, fell while leaving the home and remained on the ground until first responders arrived, records show.

Doctors said they had to amputate the boy’s index, middle and ring fingers and it’s possible that his pinky will need to be amputated in the future. The 5-year-old boy suffered temporary hearing loss and Harrod was treated for burns to her hand, the report said.

During an interview, deputies said Harrod admitted to drinking before the incident but denied being drunk even though she smelled of alcohol and her eyes were bloodshot.

She fluctuated between feeling angry, guilty and crying as she spoke with investigators, according to authorities.

Deputies said Tuesday that Harrod was wanted on charges of throwing a destructive device with bodily harm, arson of conveyance, arson resulting in injury to another and neglect of a child. She was booked into the Orange County Jail early Wednesday morning.


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