ARCADIA, Fla. -- Three Florida children died in an early Saturday morning house fire that authorities believe was set by their grandfather’s ex-girlfriend.
Marcus Clark, 10, Kiani Clark, 8, and Kemaren Clark, 4, died in the fire that began around 4:30 a.m. in their grandfather’s Arcadia home, according to the Arcadia Police Department. The children were sleeping when the blaze broke out, CBS affiliate WINK reports.
Marian Evette Williams, 49, was arrested in connection with the deadly fire, authorities said. Williams, who is the ex-girlfriend of the childrens’ grandfather, is facing charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder and arson.
She is being held without bond after an initial court appearance Sunday morning.
Her next court appearance is set for April 10.
A woman was also inside the house at the time of the fire, but she was able to escape unharmed, authorities said.
The boy’s grandmother Emma Clark remembered Marcus as the ambitious, energetic go-getter. Kiani, known to many simply as KK, was the middle child but looked after the others as though he was the oldest, she said. Kemaren’s face “always had a beautiful smile” on it.
“Not a day’s gonna go by that we’re not going to remember them, think of them,” Clark said Sunday. “I’m getting choked up.”
Many in the tightknit community expressed grief over the deaths, including retired teacher and community leader Kay Reed.
“I was heartbroken,” Reed said. “These boys are very, very special children.”
She described them as “fun-loving and funny.”
“Little innocent victims is what they were,” Reed said.