Newton County, MO — A Newton County family is mourning the loss of a husband and father. A home North of Stella exploded last night, killing 40 year old Johnny Schofield.

His wife and three daughters were not yet home, so he was the only one there at the time. The structure is a total loss, and family and friends are helping to salvage anything from the home site that can be saved.

Vickie Cupp, Mother-in-Law, said, “The photos are priceless and most of them have been found in the swimming pool, the in ground pool. And family and church family and friends have all been moving debris and digging them out.”

The investigation into the explosion is underway. Witnesses say Schofield had complained of a propane gas leak about a week ago. The Newton County Sheriff calls the incident a tragic accident.

Newton Co. Sheriff Chris Jennings, said, “Family reported there had been some recent work done on the propane system, but we have to assume I guess that’s the cause of the explosion but that will be up for the state fire marshal to make the final determination.”

The explosion was reported to authorities at 6:30 last night. Fire crews were on scene through the night, finally determining the fire to be out late this morning. Several agencies responded, but the investigation now focuses on the State Fire Marshal’s Office.