Monett Rural Fire Association firefighters were dispatched to the Jorge and Alycia Zapata home on Farm Road 2025, seven miles southwest of Monett. in response to a "911" call that came to Barry County at 10:40 a.m.
Mrs. Zapata, who had recently come home from the hospital with a new baby and who had two other small children in the house, reported her clothes drier had exploded and fire was spreading across the walls of her home. Firemen from the city department responded immediately on a mutual aid request.
Rural Chief Kevin Litchfield reported the fire was concentrated in the utility room on the east side of the Zapata home. Firemen were hampered from reaching the fire due to the double roof on the utility room. Fire damage extended to the kitchen and interior wall of the house but was stopped there. Litchfield said there was minor smoke damage in the rest of the house, but he felt most of the family's possessions were salvageable.
An ambulance was called to check out the mother and the children, Litchfield said. Pierce City Rural firefighters and Purdy Fire District firemen responded to a request for mutual aid with tankers.
The Monett Rural Fire Association did not conduct a formal investigation into the cause of the fire. The fire started in a flash explosion triggered by turning on the family's electric clothes drier. The household propane supply had been refilled 45 minutes earlier. Exactly what happened has not yet been determined. Investigators for the propane company and homeowner's insurance are examining the scene to make a determination, Litchfield said.
"It was a quick stop," Litchfield said. "Everything turned out good."