Fire Victim Searches For Justice

David Marshall barely escaped his burning home in August. His wife, Kathy Hill, remains in a coma.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The last thing David Marshall remembers about scrambling out of his burning apartment in Willimantic on Aug. 7 was thinking, 'Oh my God. I'm going unconscious from this stuff."

    Somehow, Marshall managed to make it out of a third-floor window although he has no memory of doing so. He fell more than 20 feet to the ground below and broke his wrist.

    Then, he briefly waited. He thought his wife, Kathy Hill, would follow him out, but she never appeared in the window.

    Marshall was able to alert firefighters at the scene that Hill was still trapped inside. They went in and rescued her, but by the time they pulled her out of the burning building, she was in cardiac arrest.

    "She was resuscitated quickly," Marshall said.

    Rescuers were able to revive her, but she remains in a coma at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, according to Marshall.

    Marshall recounted what he remembers from the August 7 fire on Tuesday morning when he returned to the South Street neighborhood to post reward flyers about the case.

    The fire has been ruled arson, but there have been no arrests in the case.

    "We really need to have these people arrested and put away," Marshall said. "I just hope that if people understand the horrible thing that has been done here and if they do happen to know anything. they'll be more willing to speak up."

    Marshall now spends most of his days at his wife's bedside.

    Hill is still unable to communicate and just started breathing on her own last week, Marshall said.

    She is also starting to move some of her muscles.

    "Muscle movements are becoming more controlled and eye movements are more controlled, so we see improvements, signs that the brain is recovering and hoping that eventually that's going to lead to communication," Marshall said.

    Marshall and Hill work as researchers at the University of Connecticut.

    With the crime still unsolved, Marshall fears whoever set the fire will strike again elsewhere. That's why he's now getting the word out about this terrible tragedy one flyer at a time.

    "I just hope people will feel for her and for us as especially just be motivated by that sense of doing good and the responsibility of helping the community to catch what are terrible criminals," Marshall said.

    State police are offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

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