By Vanesa Brashier, firstname.lastname@example.org
A Liberty woman, 34-year-old Christine Gill, suffered burns to most of her body in the early morning hours Sunday when a gas can exploded as she and her uncle were reportedly attempting to put fuel in a generator, according to Lt. Chip Fairchild, spokesperson for the Liberty Police Department.
“Electricity had been disconnected to the house,” said Fairchild, adding that in recent weeks the house on the 4600 block of N. Main St. had been part of a case Liberty PD was working regarding theft of utilities.
“It appears she and her uncle were working on a generator in the back of the house when the gas can exploded. We are not sure if they were attempting to put gas in the generator while it was on, but somehow the can blew up and she was covered in gasoline,” Fairchild said. “She had severe burns over most of her body. Her uncle also was burned on the front of his body.”
After the explosion, Gill and her male companion, who her relatives say is not her uncle, were airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital where she remains in critical condition.
“We don’t have any reason up to this point to believe there was anything criminal to it. It appears to have been an accident,” Fairchild said.
Gill’s family is less convinced that it was an accident. Her brother, Paul Jones, says there was a problem with the generator leaking fuel from the carburetor, but it had been fixed.
“I went over to her house and looked at the generator on Friday. We used some gasket sealer to try to seal it up Friday night. I told her when she got up the next morning to call me and I would come look at it again to see if it was still leaking. I knew that if anything happened to that generator, someone was going to end up getting killed,” Jones said.
He says his sister didn’t call on Saturday. By Sunday, she was in critical condition in the hospital. Jones said Gill has been given a slim chance of surviving, so they might never know the moments leading up to her injuries.
“As the doctor told my mom, it looked like someone had poured gas on her. She had inhaled gas and swallowed gasoline,” Jones said. “I can’t even recognize her as my sister right now.”
While the generator might have been faulty, Jones said the information from the doctor, coupled with the fact that the generator does not appear to be burned, leads him to believe foul play might have been involved.
“The place where they found her that night is deemed a dope house,” Jones said, “but my heart says this was not an accident and I want law enforcement to continue investigating it as a crime.”