Man Dies in House Explosion in Rantoul


RANTOUL, Ill. (WCIA)–A man is dead after a house explosion burned down a house in Rantoul.

It happened near the corner of James Dr. and Broadmeadow Rd. The Champaign County Coroner identified the man as 66-year-old Raymond Wolts.

The fire broke out around 12:30, but firefighters were called back to the scene after smaller flames rekindled in the debris. One neighbor, Victor Philips, said he was outside when the explosion happened.

“I was sitting on my porch and I happened to look up at just the right time and saw a window blow from out of the house,” Philips said.

After that, Philips moved quickly, calling 9-1-1 and coming close up to the flames to make sure his neighbor was alright. A couple doors down, William Alexander, another neighbor, was taking care of chores as everything unfolded.

“I heard a slight boom but because I’m in the basement, I didn’t think anything of it,” Alexander said. “Three minutes later I came upstairs and his house was full of smoke and fire.”

Once upstairs, Alexander also started checking for his neighbor.

“I approached firefighters and asked if he was even home,” Alexander said. “His van is normally in the driveway, but it could be in the garage.”

Wolst was pulled out from the debris and pronounced dead at 2:40 p.m. Rantoul Police, Firefighters and the State Fire Marshal are all investigating the explosion. If you know anything about how the explosion happened, give them a call.

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