Neighbors describe "boom" heard in Pulaski County fatal fire

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RICHLAND, Mo. -- One person is dead after a fire at a home in Pulaski County late Monday night. Firefighters say when they arrived on scene, the house was covered in flames, and had actually collapsed before they arrived.

According to a news release from the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department, they were also called out to assist the Tri-County Fire Protection District just before 9:30 p.m.

Firefighters say they got the fire under control after deputies arrived and they were no longer needed, but about an hour later, just before 10:30 p.m., Sheriff Jimmy Bench, who is the acting county coroner, was called out when they found a body in the rubble.

We spoke with a neighbor who saw the fire and called 911 last night. He wishes to remain anonymous, but said he heard an explosion before he saw the fire.

"I heard a large "boom" while we were sitting here watching TV," the neighbor said. "We went to the door, and I ran to the back bedroom got her [his wife] to come out and she called 911 while I went out to check how bad it was, and it was bad."

He went on to say the fire was "huge."

"I actually thought my field was on fire. It saddens me that, I wish I could have seen and heard it sooner."

Deputy Chief Russell Hobbs says the extremely cold temperatures Monday night did make it tough to fight the fire, as water would quickly freeze. But, Hobbs says crews worked to make sure trucks wouldn't get stuck on the snow covered road.

"We're very fortunate when we got on scene we were able to get the trucks in the driveway, and to pull our hoselines," Hobbs said. "We contacted MoDOT and Pulaski County Road and Bridge both, and they responded with trucks to keep the roads salted. We didn't have any problems with trucks getting stuck.

Bench, the acting county coroner for Pulaski County, released a statement Tuesday saying they have not yet been able to positively identify the body as the person who lived in that home, and there hasn't been a name released at this time.

The state Fire Marshal's office is investigating this, so be sure to stay with us for the latest information.