arson fire

A child's bike was seen outside a residence on Wednesday at 212 S. Foster St., which burned as the result of an alleged arson fire that began next door at 208 S. Foster St.

MANSFIELD -- Bond was set at $1 million cash Thursday for the 18-year-old charged with starting the fire Wednesday that killed a 3-year-old Mansfield girl.

Roscoe D. Hunter II was arraigned in Mansfield Municipal Court and a preliminary hearing date is scheduled July 3 at 10 a.m. before Judge Jerry Ault.

Roscoe D. Hunter II

Roscoe D. Hunter II, 18, has been charged with aggravated arson for allegedly starting the fire that killed Chloe Williams, 3, of Mansfield.

It's not Hunter's first court experience. He was charged by Mansfield police with criminal trespass, vehicle trespass and underage consumption in April.

A trial date of June 4 was set on those misdemeanor charges, but Hunter didn't appear and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.

Mansfield defense attorney Ralph Bove was appointed Thursday to represent Hunter, now charged with aggravated arson, a first-degree felony, for triggering a fire at 212 S. Foster St. in an unoccupied house.

Hunter's last known address, according to police, was 211 1/2 S. Foster St.

The 2 a.m. fire spread to nearby 208 S. Foster St., according to Mansfield police. Chloe Williams died in the blaze, though seven other people, including three adults, escaped safely.

A 13-year-old male, whom police did not identify, is charged with arson in the case. He is being held in the Richland County Juvenile Detention Center.

A neighbor who saw the flames pounded on the door to awaken the residents at 208 S. Foster. Williams was trapped in an upstairs bedroom. The child was staying at the house with a babysitter while her parents were working.

Mansfield firefighters attempted to find and rescue the child, but were "driven out of the house due to extensive fire conditions and adverse wind conditions," Mansfield Fire Chief Steven Strickling said.

City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"

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