UPDATE: Atwood woman arrested for allegedly burning her own home

UPDATE: Atwood woman arrested for allegedly burning her own home

ATWOOD — An Atwood woman apparently upset at the prospect of a divorce allegedly set fire to her own home Thursday.

Atwood Police Chief Rob Bross said Christina Harris, 34, was found walking in the yard of her home with a propane torch and a lighter just before 7 p.m. Thursday as the ranch home she shared with her husband burned. 

Bross said Harris admitted during an interview with police Thursday that she set the fire because she was served with divorce papers earlier that evening.

She was arrested Friday on a preliminary charge of aggravated arson and taken to the Douglas County Jail. She’s expected to make a court appearance in Tuscola next week.

Bross said fellow Officer Patrick Carter walked out of the police station about 6:50 p.m. Thursday and saw heavy black smoke over the trees on the south end of the village.

"As soon as he got near the house, he got the dispatch of the fire," Bross said.

Firefighters from Atwood, Arcola, Arthur and Hammond helped put out the blaze at 200 Eric Drive but not before it was substantially damaged.

The fire had engulfed the house, garage and a nearby Airstream travel trailer before firefighters could get it under control. Bross speculated that propane tanks on the travel trailer accounted for explosions people may have heard.

Bross said Harris was not injured but she was taken to Carle Hospital in Urbana. No one else was home at the time, he said. She was arrested Friday night after coming to the police station to talk to Bross, who investigated with help from the Illinois State Fire Marshal.

A firefighter from Arthur received a cut to his finger for which he was treated at the scene. Another firefighter from Arcola was also taken to Carle after becoming overheated.

Bross said he was conscious, alert and breathing when he was taken to the hospital to be checked out.

"It was real muggy; there was heavy air and a hot fire," Bross said. "He just got really overheated."

Bross said he and firefighters remained at the scene until almost midnight Thursday.

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