Victim Remains in Coma One Year After Fire

It's been one year since someone set fire to a multi-family home in Willimantic and there are still no arrests.

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    It's been one year since someone set fire to a multi-family home in Willimantic and there are still no arrests. (Published Wednesday, Aug 7, 2013)

    It's been one year since someone set fire to a multi-family home in Willimantic that left a woman in a coma, and there are still no arrests.

    Firefighters pulled Kathy Hill from the Fire on Aug. 7, 2012.  She remains in a coma at a rehabilitation center in her native New Zealand.

    "I'd just like to see a little bit of justice for Kathy," said Kathy Dubay, manager of the South Street property that burned a year ago.

    Dubay is hoping someone will come forward with information about the crime.

    Police said someone used accelerants to set the blaze, but so far they have not found the person responsible.

    Hill's husband, David Marshall, barely escaped the flames.

    Both Marshall and Hill worked as researchers at the University of Connecticut.

    To mark the first anniversary, Dubay and others just posted hundreds of flyers around Willimantic to call attention to the crime.

    Dubay also delivered lunch to the firefighters who saved Hill's life.

    "This is just a small token of our appreciation," Dubay told them.

    Dubay continues to speak out about the crime, hoping new leads will come in and the case will be solved.

    "There's no need for a 33-year-old girl to celebrate her 34th birthday in a coma when they were innocent. Innocent," said Dubay.

    Six firefighters were hurt that night.

    Captain Ron Palmer, of the Willimantic Fire Department, helped pull Hill from the burning home.

    "We were able to get her out. We gave her a chance," said Captain Palmer. "You do keep the faith that she improves health wise. You also keep hope that somebody will come forward and that there can be some type of information to help push this case forward."

    In the year since the fire happened, the charred building has been torn down.  A new one is being built in its place with video surveillance and a sprinkler system.

    For now, there are few answers about what happened that night or why.

    "I feel somebody has to have some information as to who started the blaze," said Dubay.

    A $2,500 reward continues to be offered for information leading to an arrest in the case.

    State police and the state fire marshal are investigating.
     

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