arson fire

Mansfield police on Thursday afternoon announced charges have been filed against two people for causing a fatal arson fire early Wednesday morning.

MANSFIELD -- Two people have been charged  for allegedly starting a fire that killed a 3-year-old girl in Mansfield early Wednesday morning.

Roscoe D. Hunter II, 18, and a 13-year-old male have been arrested and jailed, according to Mansfield police Chief Keith Porch, for starting a fire on South Foster Street that caused the death of Chloe Williams.

Hunter was served with the felony warrant for aggravated arson on Thursday morning and remains in the Richland County Jail.

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.

The juvenile, whom police did not identify, was charged with arson and is in the Richland County Juvenile Detention Center, police said.

"Mr. Hunter became a person of interest early on in the investigation due to investigative efforts by detectives, as well as several tips received from the community," Porch said.

The charge against against Hunter, 211 1/2 S. Foster St., is a 1st degree felony and the charge against the teenager is a 4th degree felony. Porch said the Richland County Prosecutor's Office is handling the case.

"As with any active investigations, additional arrests are possible as the investigation is ongoing," Porch said.

Police said they believe the blaze began at 212 S. Foster St., a vacant house, and spread to 208 S. Foster St., an occupied residence, just after 2 a.m.

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.

Seven other occupants, three adults and four juveniles, got out safely, police said.

"Due to the active investigation as well as the age of one of the suspects, there will be no further details released at this time. We are asking that anyone with additional information that they feel may be helpful, to please contact investigators. Again, we cannot stress enough the importance of the community’s assistance in solving these types of crimes," Porch said.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact police Sgt. Matt Loughman (419-755-9761), Det. Rick Clapp (419-755-9470) or Mansfield Fire Dept. Lt. Dan Crow (419-755-9817).

Mansfield Fire Chief Steve Strickling also thanked those who reached out to assist investigators as well as the assistance provided by the State of Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office and the “Ohio Blue Ribbon Arson Committee,” which helped to encourage community tips.

Mansfield Mayor Timothy Theaker offered condolences to the family of the child who died.

"It takes a community effort to solve crimes like these and the City of Mansfield did not disappoint us," Theaker said.

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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?"