Woman presumed dead after house fire

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

3-story lake home destroyed in Tuesday blaze

An elderly man is injured and a woman is presumed dead following a house fire at a three-story residence on Highway H in Stone County, south of Shell Knob on Table Rock Lake.

Rusty Rickard, chief at the Central Crossing Fire Protection District said the call on Tuesday came from across the lake, where someone saw the house on fire.

"There were two occupants in the house, and as of 5:15 p.m. [Tuesday] night, one was accounted for and the other is still missing," Rickard said. "The gentleman was transported to a local hospital, then later flown out to a larger medical facility."

Rickard said crews stayed until midnight Tuesday combing the debris in search of the missing woman, but had no luck.

"We had problems with the truck and valves freezing, pipes freezing and people freezing," he said. "We left at midnight and came back at 6:30 a.m. today (Wednesday) with heavy equipment, still looking for her. My best guess is that she is deceased inside the structure."

A state fire marshal is on scene, as well as the Stone County Sheriff's Office, who secured the scene overnight and is helping with the search.

"Our best information right now is that the cause is related to the fire place," Rickard said. "That's what the gentleman told a neighbor [Tuesday] before he was transported to the hospital. But, that's not an official cause."

Rickard said the Southern Stone County and Eagle Rock fire departments assisted Tuesday, as well as the Stone County Sheriff's office and Stone County and Barry County dispatch.

"We also have the grocery store and neighbors bringing us coffee and food and helping us keep warm." Rickard said.

The names of the victims are being withheld at this time.

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