NEWTON COUNTY, Mo. (rural Stella) — About 6:20 PM Monday evening Newton County 911 Dispatch received a call regarding a possible house fire and explosion on near the intersection of Skylark Dr. and Quince Rd. in rural Newton County.
Upon arrival emergency responders discovered a home completely gone. Remnants of the structure scattered hundreds of feet, in all directions, and portions on fire among the massive amount of debris.
Chief Kevin Johnson of Midway Fire Protection District tells us the cause of the fire is under investigation, and that two state fire marshals were on the scene.
Newton County Coroner, Dale Owen, arrived shortly after 11:30 PM. He tells us Tuesday morning:
“We responded to an explosion in Stella, Missouri, overnight. A 40-year-old male was found deceased at the scene. Preliminary indications were that it was an accident. Possibly a gas leak that may have caused the explosion. At this time we are making preparations to have the individual taken to Springfield for autopsy.”Dale Owen, Newton County Coroner
Mutual aid tanker and manpower support for Midway Fire came from:
- Neosho Fire Department
- Stella Fire District
- East Newton Fire District
- Granby Fire Department
- Goodman Fire District
Also supporting the efforts were Newton County Ambulance along with their mobile support unit and Newton County Sheriff’s Deputies.
One local resident, name withheld, described the home before the explosion, saying it was a large home, with a wraparound porch. The property sits on the edge of North Indian Creek.
“I could hear [the explosion] and feel it at Sweetwater Baptist Church on H, that’s how big it was,” which is about 3 miles as the crow flies, or 5 miles by road.
Records indicate the residential structure was approximately 3,800 square feet.