Stella, MO — A rural Stella man was killed Monday night in an explosion and fire at his home.

John Schofield, 40, 18865 Skylark Drive, died in what investigators say may have been an explosion caused by a propane leak, according to Kevin Johnson, chief of the Midway Fire Protection District at Fairview.

Neighbors notified the fire department of the blast at 6:18 p.m. Monday.

Schofield was the only person in the house at the time. The chief said the victim’s wife and children were not home at the time. No other properties were damaged in the rural area north of Stella where the explosion occurred.

The chief said it took about three hours to get the fire under control. Fire crews worked at the scene for 18 hours. Assistance was provided by fire departments from Stella, Granby, Neosho and Goodman, as well as the Newton County Ambulance District. A state fire marshal from the Missouri Department of Public Safety investigated.

There is no report available from the public safety department yet. A spokesman for the department, Mike O’Connell, said the cause of the fire is currently listed as undetermined. It will take time for the report to be completed, he said.