WYATT, Mo. (KFVS) – Several first responders rushed to the 500 block of Pecan Street in Wyatt around 7 a.m. to report an explosion at a home on Monday, August 15.
Mississippi County Coroner Terry Parker confirms that at least one person was killed in the explosion.
Parker said the victim died at a hospital in Cape Girardeau.
Parker identified the victim as 23-year-old Corey Coleman. An autopsy is scheduled for later Wednesday to determine the exact cause of death.
According to the Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office, 10 people were in the home when the explosion occurred.
Nine of the people are in critical condition.
The age range of the victims is between six months and mid-twenties.
In a statement, the Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office said preliminary investigations show the cause of the explosion was a gas leak.
They have not yet determined the origin of the gas leak.
The state fire marshal is investigating the cause, but Charleston Department of Public Safety (DPS) chief Robert Hearnes said the explosion may have been caused by a faulty water heater.
The exact cause of the explosion is under investigation by the Missouri State Fire Department, the Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office and the Gas Commission Investigation Unit.
Video from Drone 12, of the scene of a home explosion in Wyatt, Missouri, shows scattered pieces of metal and a charred yard where a home once stood.
Two men, Philip Swift and Tyler Larkins, sitting outside heard the explosion and followed the screams to see how they could help.
“The house was engulfed in flames,” said Philip Swift. “It was a bad, bad scene.”
Swift said Larkins entered the burning house and grabbed three small children and they both had the children and are thought to be their mother across the street.
“By the time I turned around and grabbed the other child, the roof had already collapsed,” Larkins laments.
Both men said it was by the grace of God that they were there to help.
Volunteer firefighter Gary Graham said it was the worst scene he had responded to.
“I’ve had a few tragic events in my life, but this was by far the worst,” Graham said. “I’ve never seen what I saw when I walked on stage today, I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Chief Hearnes said the house exploded around 7am and a second house caught fire.
Several Wyatt residents felt the effects of the explosion, and all are concerned for the family involved.
A neighbor next door heard the blast and said she too says she will never forget what she saw when she looked to see where the blast came from.
“There was a pretty little lady, I don’t know how old she was, and she was rolling around and the fire was just all over her body and she was rolling and screaming and crying,” her neighbor Virginia Bowles said. “I will never, ever get over this.”
The blast left visible damage to Virginia Bowles’ home, but it was the human toll she said she will never forget.
The fire damaged the roof and walls of his garage, which is attached to his house.
Virginia Bowles said, “And I jumped up, and my son yelled at me, get out, get out.”
Bowles told us she went back for her coffee and her shoes, but her son told her she had to get out immediately.
Willis Harris is also a neighbor.
He said a family member sold the house that blew up a year ago and losing it hurt.
He said: “I was sitting here drinking my coffee on the couch and we heard an explosion at 7am and we thought it was a sonic boom.”
The two neighbors send good thoughts to the family affected by this deadly explosion.
“We are praying for you, we hope you are doing better,” Harris said.
First responders from Mississippi, New Madrid and Scott Counties, including Charleston firefighters, were called to the scene.
Mississippi County Sheriff Britton Ferrell is urging the public to stay off the streets until further notice.
Ferrell said the property should be considered a crime scene and the public should stay away.
Ferrell said the Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office, the Missouri State Fire Marshal and the Missouri Public Service Commission are working together to investigate what happened.
The Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office thanked the Mississippi County Ambulance Service, Charleston Department of Public Safety, Mississippi County Rescue Team, Wyatt Fire Department, Department of Missouri Conservation, South Scott County Ambulance Service, New Madrid County Ambulance Service, Air Evacuation Service and Missouri. State Fire Marshal Service in their statement for their quick response.
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