South Carolina mother allegedly set house fire which killed daughter, injured 3 others in 2020

UNION, S.C. — A South Carolina mother allegedly set her house on fire, which killed her daughter and injured three others in 2020.

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According to WHNS, Carlene Julie Ann Ratcliffe, 32, was arrested on Friday just 18 months after her 6-year-old daughter died in a house fire that she allegedly set, which injured three others.

Union Police Department told WHNS that on November 25, 2020, around 5:40 p.m., officers were called out to a house fire with a possible person stuck inside. When they arrived, the house was fully involved.

According to warrants obtained by WSPA, the child’s grandmother, Barbara Newton, was out grocery shopping prior to the fire. She returned and saw the flames. Newton had burn injuries from trying to get the child out of her home. Two firefighters were burned while trying to help the child as well.

Caeli Ratcliffe, 6, was sleeping inside the house when the fire started and she later died from smoke inhalation, according to WSPA. The investigation lasted about 18 months, leading to Carlene Ratcliffe’s arrest. The investigation was conducted by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s Arson Unit and Child Fatality Unit, the State Fire Marshal’s Office and ATF.

People Magazine said that investigators believe Carlene Ratcliffe set the fire and left without reporting it.

Carlene Ratcliffe has been booked on recommended charges of murder, homicide by child abuse and two counts of first-degree arson, according to WSPA. She is being held without bond. No possible motive has been released.

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