Local News

Sheriff: Sanford woman set fire to group home

Posted December 13, 2018 9:55 a.m. EST
Updated December 13, 2018 6:16 p.m. EST

— A Sanford woman accused of setting fire to a home full of people with whom she lived faces charges of attempted murder and arson.

Charlie Ann Allen, 31, is charged with first-degree arson and six counts of attempted murder. According to the Lee County Sheriff's Office, Allen set a home she lives in with multiple people on fire on Nov. 25. There were six people inside at the time of the fire, and officials said all escaped unharmed.

Tawanna McLean, who owns the home at 176 Sandollar Court, described Allen as developmentally challenged and said she was not allowed to have a lighter.

"I don't know what it was, whether it was the bed or the curtains, but she caught something in there on fire," McLean said. "It's a big question mark where she got the lighter from."

McLean said she was not at the home that night but had two staffers caring for the residents.

"They were like superwomen," McLean said. "I guess when they spotted the fire, instead of trying to put out the fire, they started to save the clients."

McLean says she doesn't know why she would have wanted to harm them.

"I don't think she knew how serious it could have got," McLean said.

Allen is in jail on a $1 million secured bond.