Omaha man arrested after 3-year-old found in burning car

Thankfully, she was alive.
An Omaha man was arrested after firefighters said they found his 3-year-old daughter in the backseat of the car when they were called to extinguish the vehicle.
Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 8:58 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - When an Omaha man’s car caught fire, his keys were locked inside.

That’s not the shocking part.

In a bizarre and sad story that unfolded Sunday night on Saddle Creek Road and California Street in Midtown, a car was stopped on the road. There was a lot of smoke. Someone called 9-1-1.

When firefighters arrived, the driver was standing outside the car — he was locked out of the vehicle.

Investigators said that after firefighters broke a window and soaked the car in water to keep the fire from spreading, they noticed a child in the backseat.

According to prosecutors, firefighters had asked the driver, 29-year-old Mark McLemore, whether there was anyone in the vehicle — and he did not indicate there was.

Authorities say the man was drunk when his vehicle caught fire, and that he didn't tell firefighters that there was a child inside the locked vehicle.

As firefighters checked the car, they spotted a 3-year-old girl in the backseat without a car seat.

Thankfully, she was alive.

“Yes, yes. Terrified, of course. Not harmed by the extinguisher. Certainly very upset, and pretty scared,” Douglas County Chief Deputy Attorney Brenda Beadle said about the girl.

McLemore remains in the Douglas County Jail on a $50,000 bond.

Besides the felony child neglect and abuse charge, he’s also facing a drunk-driving charge. Investigators said his blood-alcohol level was 2.5 times the legal limit to drive.