UNION, S.C. (WSPA) — A Union County woman has been accused of setting a November 2020 fire that killed her daughter and injured three others, including two firefighters.
Carlene Julie Ann Ratcliffe, 32, of Union, has been charged with murder, homicide by child abuse and two counts of first-degree arson, according to the Union Public Safety Department.
The fire happened about 5:40 p.m. on Nov. 25, 2020, at a home on Second Avenue. When firefighters arrived, they found the home engulfed in flames with fire coming out of the windows and the front door.
According to warrants, the child’s grandmother was grocery shopping when she returned home to find the house on fire. She suffered severe burns while trying to rescue a child and was later flown to the Jospeh M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia.
Two firefighters were also burned trying to rescue the child, 6-year-old Caeli Ratcliffe, who was sleeping when the fire started and died from smoke inhalation.
Warrants said Carlene Ratcliffe set the fire and then left the home without seeking help.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s Arson Unit and Child Fatality Unit, along with the State Fire Marshal’s Office and the ATF assisted with the investigation.
Ratcliffe is being held in the Union County Detention Center.