(CNN) – Police say a volunteer firefighter rushed to the scene of a fire in Iowa, leaving his baby alone at home. The 28-year-old firefighter now faces a criminal charge of child endangerment.
While responding to a fire call Monday, the Fremont county sheriff says Christopher Thurman put a life in danger: the life of his one-year-old child.
Sheriff Kevin Aistrope says, “I know it’s important for us to have volunteers in our fire department, and they serve and protect, but you can’t put your one-year-old in danger for that to happen.”
Aistrope says when Thurman responded to a fire call, he left his child home alone with the family dog. Neighbors saw Thurman drive off and got suspicious.
Shawn Bourland, another volunteer firefighter, went to the house. He and other concerned neighbors called 911. “He was crying. You could hear him outside the door, so you can tell that he was crying pretty loud that you can hear him through the wooden door.”
“We kicked in the door of the house and the child was left alone in the crib with the TV on cartoons.”
Authorities eventually released the child to its mother, who was working in Omaha at the time. Sheriff deputies arrested Thurman, still wearing his fire department shirt in his mug shot.
Other members of the fire department tell us the tough part of all of this is that volunteer firefighters are not required to respond to every call.
Bourland says, “I’ve got two kids, and I don’t know how someone could just do that. I mean how can you leave your child alone for who knows how long, when you’re out fighting a fire?”
Thurman’s bond was set at $2,000, but the sheriff tells us he is still behind bars.
We did reach out to other family members of the child. They are not commenting on the situation.