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Off-duty firefighter rescues woman from an intentionally set house fire in Stone County, Mo.

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 12:37 PM CDT
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SHELL KNOB, Mo. (KY3) - An off-duty firefighter rescued a woman from a house fire in Shell Knob investigators believe was intentionally set.

Firefighters with the Central Crossing Fire Department with the help of Barry and Stone County deputies responded to the disturbance, then house fire in the Stallion Bluff area around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Investigators say a man intentionally set the house on fire during a domestic disturbance. The fire trapped a woman in an upstairs bedroom. A neighbor, also a Central Crossing firefighter, rescued the woman from the house using his ladder. A sheriff’s deputy responding to the disturbance found the man inside the home. The man suffered serious burns. Emergency crews transported him to a Springfield hospital.

The firefighter who saved the woman’s life says he wants to remain anonymous, but is glad he was home because with the heat and smoke on the top floor there’s no way she could’ve made it out.

“The house is in a pretty rural area of our district so adding in the response times and having people close makes a big difference,” Central Crossing Fire Chief Rusty Rickard said.

The volunteer firefighter says as he arrived at the house he immediately called the owner to check if anyone was inside.

”She informed me she was in the upstairs bedroom and I got her to kick out the screen,” he said.

He then called his brother in law for help.

”Between the two of us we were able to rescue her and get her down safely.”

Chief Rickard says the man inside the home who they believe set the fire was found unconscious.

”Aide was provided to him as well but he was flown by medical helicopter to a Springfield Hospital and it’s my understanding he was sent to a burn unit,” Rickard said.

He says the back of the house received the most damage, but doesn’t think it’s a total loss.

”Definitely has pretty extensive damage not only from fire but smoke and water damage,” Rickard said.

The fire district says they are thankful for the heroic actions of one of their own and a neighbor last night because this could have ended differently.

”Definitely feel like that contributed a lot to most likely saving at least one if not likely two lives,” said Rickard.

The current condition of the man is still unknown.

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