Early morning house explosion kills one

By Laura Schiermeier, Staff Writer
Posted 9/21/22

VIENNA — A Vienna man lost his life in a house explosion at the 11000 block of State Route V early Tuesday morning.

Maries County Sheriff Chris Heitman and Sheriff’s Deputy Major Scott …

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Early morning house explosion kills one

Posted

VIENNA — A Vienna man lost his life in a house explosion at the 11000 block of State Route V early Tuesday morning.

Maries County Sheriff Chris Heitman and Sheriff’s Deputy Major Scott John reported Wayne Boeckman, 58, was found by first responders under debris in the basement of the house. The debris field from the explosion was about the size of a football field. Debris was hanging in trees, bushes and fences. Propane is the suspected cause of the explosion, but this was not yet confirmed by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, which had representatives on the scene. A representative of the Missouri Propane Safety Commission also was on scene on Tuesday morning.

Vienna residents said they heard a loud boom at 1 a.m. Tuesday. One resident reported electric power to his home was knocked out. Another man said he heard the loud boom and thought something had gone wrong in his house, but found nothing after checking the whole house. The explosion set off an alarm at the Dollar General store in Vienna, and pushed in the back door by about a foot according to reports to the sheriff’s office.

John said he was called out at 3 a.m. and they spent some time trying to find out whether or not Boeckman was on the property. The firemen of Vienna Fire were there securing the scene. They began calling people who might know if Boeckman was on the property. They called for a cadaver dog, but then found Boeckman’s body. It was under large debris is the basement of the house, which had to be removed by extraction equipment. 

Heitman said they got confirmation between 6 or 7 a.m. that he was in the residence. It took a couple of hours to find Boeckman’s body. 

The Maries County Coroner took the body from the scene. 

John said the medical examiner’s office will preform an autopsy sometime on Wednesday to determine cause of death.

Vienna Fire Chief Mike Smith said he, too, heard the explosion at 1 a.m. and wondered what it was. The firemen were called out a little before 3 a.m. by dispatch a little. Smith said they tried to call people who knew Boeckman and might know if he was in the home. Finally, a girlfriend came to the scene and gave the first responders a phone number they didn’t have. They called the number and heard the phone ringing within the debris. They found Boeckman’s body about 10 to 15 feet away. Smith said they’d also used a thermo image scanner but had no signals because there was so much debris. He said removing the debris was “slow and taxing.” 

Smith said he had some concerns also about the propane tank, which was damaged and tossed about 50 feet away from where it was located. He said it was a Three Rivers lineman who called in the explosion to dispatch. 

On the scene at about 10:30 a.m. it smelled strongly of propane.  A propane truck was there to remove the damaged tank, and then the smell receded. 

There were several television media outlets at the explosion scene Tuesday. 

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