One dead from smoke inhalation after Fourth of July fire at Lake of the Ozarks

Published: Jul. 5, 2018 at 5:36 PM CDT
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Firefighters got the call just before 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

"Our first arriving units were on the scene within six minutes, and they found a house that was well involved in fire off of Tree Lane, which is off of Highway 5," said Chief Dennis Reilly of the Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District.

Three people - an adult and two children - were at the house at the time.

A woman who says she lived in the home tells KY3/KSPR the man who died was her long time boyfriend, who she considered her husband even though they were not married.

The man was able to get out of the home, but, while firefighters and medical personnel were on scene, he started to have respiratory issues from smoke inhalation and was rushed to the hospital and later passed away.

Chief Reilly believes the man tried to fight the fire before calling 911.

"We believe that there is a possibility that they tried to fight the fire themselves for a little bit before they called 911, and that would make sense because they were exposed to the smoke," Reilly said. "Fire grows so fast, and things can happen so quickly. Your best bet is to exit the structure and call us immediately."

A neighbor, who did not want to speak on camera, says the man's two children were outside when the fire started, and he brought them toward his home so they were safe.

The high temperatures were tough on firefighters yesterday as well, as off-duty firefighters were called back in, and several were treated by EMS.

"The support we got from EMS, in terms of cooling people down, rehabbing them, making sure they had water and gatorade to drink was just outstanding, and we're very thankful for that," Reilly added.

Reilly did not officially identify the victim in this fire, but says more details would be released Friday.

The cause, while considered accidental, is still under investigation.