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Local News

Elderly woman dies after Joliet fire; police say arson suspected

Grandson facing charges related to incident

William Vera
William Vera

A 32-year-old Plainfield man is facing arson charges after his elderly grandmother was rescued from a Joliet house fire Friday afternoon, police said. She later succumbed to her injuries.

Joliet police responded about 1:25 p.m. Friday to the 1900 block of Glacier Ridge Drive for a reported house fire, according to a news release from the Joliet Police Department.

When officers arrived, they were told an elderly person was still in the burning home. Police tried to enter the home before firefighters arrived through the interior garage door and an open back door, but were unable to get inside because of the heavy black smoke, the release said.

Joliet fire crews were able to rescue an elderly woman once they arrived. She was transported to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood in critical condition, but was pronounced dead at 5:58 p.m. Friday, according to Cook County Medical Examiner records.

As police investigated, they learned William Vera, the woman's grandson, had been in the home at the time of the fire. Police found Vera in the 7100 block of Caton Farm Road and transported him to the Joliet Police Department to speak with detectives.

Joliet detectives determined Vera purposely set the fire inside the home and left before emergency crews arrived, according to the release.

Vera, whose address was listed as 1906 Glacier Ridge Drive, was arrested and charged with aggravated arson. He was due in court at 9 a.m. Saturday. Will County court records show he has faced a number of traffic violations within the last decade.

The medical examiner's office had not yet released the elderly woman's name as of early Saturday afternoon.

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