Arcadia community struggling to cope after 3 boys killed in house fire

ARCADIA, Fla. (WFLA) – The small community of Arcadia is shocked after a disturbing weekend crime. A woman set fire to a house, killing three young children inside.

Desoto County resident Dawn Wiley felt it was important to show her support for the Clark family. She approached the charred remains of the home on South Lee Avenue and added a gift to a growing memorial of balloons, toys and candles.

“That could’ve been my kid,” said Wiley.

“Tragic…sad….they didn’t deserve none of it. They were just innocent kids,” she added.

Early Saturday morning, police say 49-year-old Marian Williams set fire to a home belonging to her ex-boyfriend, Arnold Mele. He and another adult escaped, but sadly, his three grandchildren, 10-year-old Marcus Clark, 8-year-old Kiani Clark, and 4-year-old Kemaren Clark were killed.

“Our children are supposed to bury us, we ain’t supposed to bury our children,” said the boys’ uncle, Gene Smith.

Smith said they were athletic, loved fishing and were a group of peas in a pod.

“Them three boys as a unit, they stuck together, they stuck together,” said Smith.

Now Smith is at a loss for words, wondering how could Williams do this.

“She has children, probably has grandchildren and great-grandchildren, how can you do that? Does she want that done to her children or grandchildren?” asked Smith.

Williams faces multiple charges, including three counts of first degree murder. Officials said she burglarized the home the day prior to the fire. She was charged with burglary and battery, but she bonded out.

People who know Williams are shocked.

“I’m very angry with Marian, very angry. I just don’t want to believe that. That she did it knowing those kids were in the house,” said one friend of Williams.

The community is stepping up. People from all walks of life are setting up fundraisers and supporting the family in this time of need.

“We are a community of no color. We love each other very deeply and we are there, it don’t matter who you are, where you are, we love each other,” said Kay Reed, a friend of the family.

Authorities are still investigating how the fire was started. Williams is being held in jail without bond

The family tells News Channel 8 the grandfather was last listed in stable condition and the family will be holding funerals for the children late next week.


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