Joliet (IL) Explosion Ruled Arson

The home of a missing Joliet-area (IL) woman exploded Sunday night, lifting its roof off and severely injuring her boyfriend in a fire that the state Fire Marshal has determined was an arson, reports The Chicago Tribune.

Anne Gay, 52, was reported missing on June 22, but relatives say they have not heard from her since June 9. She had been in the process of moving out of the home she rented with her boyfriend in an unincorporated area near Joliet when she disappeared, authorities said.

On Sunday, the East Joliet Fire Protection District responded to a fire at 9:13 p.m., where Gay's boyfriend still lives, according to authorities and Fire Chief Robert Scholtes. State Fire Marshal investigators determined the fire was an arson set by the boyfriend.

When firefighters arrived, they found the boyfriend outside the two-story home with burns on his body, said Scholtes. Paramedics took the man to Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox in serious condition. He was later transferred to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where he remains.

The gas line from the dryer inside the home may have been intentionally cut and the valve was left wide-open, according to the Will County Sheriff's Department. The department said the Illinois State Fire Marshal is referring to the blaze as arson, but a spokeswoman for the agency  could not immediately confirm.

"There's obvious signs that a gas line had been taken apart at the coupling and the valve appears to have been left in a wide-open position," Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Ken Kaupas said.

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