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Morehead City fire at residence being investigated as arson

(Samantha Salter Ratliff photo)

MOREHEAD CITY, Carteret County - Carteret County Sheriff's deputies say a car fire that happened early Saturday morning is now being investigated as arson.

According to the Carteret County Fire Marshal, fire crews responded to 3322 Mandy Lane and found two cars in flames in the driveway of a home. They were able to extinguish the flames in minutes but the family that owns those cars now feels unsafe in their own home.

Samantha Ratliff, one of the victims, said she was fast asleep when her husband jolted her awake.

"He woke up around 12;45 and said 'something's wrong something's wrong babe get up'," said Ratliff.

Ratliff said at first she thought something was wrong with her kids, but she then looked out the window and saw the blaze. Luckily, her family managed to get out of the house unharmed but she said she immediately knew it was arson.

"The immediate thing is who would do this to my family and I knew automatically this wasn't an accident and I knew automatically my cars just didn't catch on fire by chance," said Ratliff.

Photos of the damage done (from Samantha Ratliff)

The destroyed cars are now reminders to the family of that traumatizing night.

"Needless to say, the images will forever haunt me, seeing my cars on fire through my bedroom window and knowing that we could have died, that my children could have died if we had waited just a little bit longer or if my husband hadn't woken up," said Ratliff.

The Carteret County Sheriff's Office has not announced if they have any suspects in the case but they have a person of interest.

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