By Christy Porter, Managing Editor
A house explosion on Myers Street, in Licking, on Friday night, shook the community and unified first responders and citizens as they came to the aid of two persons inside the home, and aided in prevention of further devastation to those in the vicinity.
At 6:37 p.m. on December 1, the City of Licking Police Department and the City of Licking Fire Department were dispatched to the location by Texas County 911.
LPD Chief Pat Burton, Corporal Kenny Santee and Officer Tristin Hall immediately arrived at the scene, where Santee and Hall proceeded to pull one resident from the burning structure, saving his life.
Shortly thereafter the City of Licking Fire Department and the Licking Rural Fire Department arrived and fire suppression was initiated immediately.
Phelps Health EMS and Salem Memorial District Hospital EMS responded to the call for assistance. Upon arrival of Salem Memorial District Hospital EMS the two patients were transported to Texas County Memorial Hospital in Houston. Multiple medical helicopters declined response due to area weather conditions. The patients’ current conditions are unknown.
Myers Street Unified Command was established with Licking responders, the City of Houston Fire Department who provided aerial suppression operations, the Houston Rural Fire Department and Raymondville Volunteer Fire Department, all who responded to the call and assisted in fire suppression.
Texas County Sheriff deputies assisted in traffic control and assisted with initial patient contacts.
City of Licking Public Works and Utilities and Intercounty Electric Cooperative Association assisted with deactivating utilities to the residence. All indications lead to the belief that a water main break in the vicinity, which city crews repaired the following day, was the result of an incident blast wave from the explosion.
Unified Command requested assistance from the Missouri State Highway Patrol for traffic control and initial public relations, which was established at Licking City Hall.
The Missouri State Fire Marshal Office responded to a request for assistance and initiated an investigation of the fire scene upon arrival. The Missouri State Propane Commission was also requested to aid in the investigation.
While the investigation is still ongoing, the initial report from Mike O’Connell, PIO, Missouri State Fire Marshal, states the incident was ruled as accidental, due to an open gas valve inside the residence.
Fortunately there were no other known injuries, although the explosion and resulting fire did cause damage to nearby structures.
Police Chief Pat Burton and Fire Chief Aaron Greathouse would like to personally thank our police officers, firefighters, all agencies, businesses and the citizens of Licking for their assistance and cooperation during and following this emergency situation.
Photos by Christy Porter