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St. James home explosion under investigation

ST. JAMES, Mo. – The Missouri State Fire Marshal and State Highway Patrol are investigating an explosion at a home near St. James late Tuesday night.

The explosion occurred around 9:20 p.m. in the Rolling Hills subdivision, located about eight miles northeast of St. James.

Residents in the area described seeing a large flame in the sky from the property. Reports of the explosion came in from as far as Rolla.

Neighbor Bob Hunter saw the explosion.

"I heard an explosion down the road from me. I looked over cause I know my mom lives in that direction and I'd seen an orangeish red cloud going straight up, about 500 yards straight up, in a mushroom cloud," he said. "A shockwave came through and knocked me down."

A friend of the family who lives at the home said the owners were very upset and did not want to comment.

Neighbors said the family was home at the time of the explosion, but no one was injured. However, they’re emotionally distraught over losing their home in the explosion.

The St. James Fire Protection District said a large detached garage was destroyed and a house in the property was heavily damaged. The blast was so large, at least 10 homes in the subdivision had broken windows, walls bowed out, and foundations cracked; some were more heavily damaged.

Another neighbor, Jerry Baumann, described the damage to his house.

"We have at least three walls that are bulged out and so there's been pretty significant structural damage to our home," he said. "A lot of pictures were blown off the walls and windows were pushed out and laying down inside the house."

Investigators have no word on what caused the explosion.