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by Mark Cheffey
An explosion and fire destroyed a rural home just south of Palmyra Wednesday afternoon.
An elderly couple, Kenny and Delma Shannon, were in the house at the time, but managed to escape without injuries.
Palmyra Fire Chief Gary Crane said his crews were called at noon Wednesday, but by the time they arrived, the brick home could not be saved.
Crane said a Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy, Brock Decker, happened to be nearby when the call came in and was able to reach the scene quickly.
He helped the couple and even retrieved their medicines and their car out of the garage before the fire spread to those locations in the house.
Crane said the early indications a propane tank leak in the basement of the house touched off an explosion that bowed out two brick walls of the house and spread flames through the rest of the structure.
In fact, Crane said, the structure was so compromised by the explosion that the resulting danger prevented his crews from trying to enter the structure to stop the fire.
“We had to go into defensive mode,” said Crane, whose crew was on the scene for total of eight and a half hours.
Crane said he 10 Palmyra firemen responded and received mutual aid from the Hannibal Fire Department, which brought a pumper truck.
The fire also touched off a grass fire which led to the Hannibal Rural Fire Department to bring a brush truck.
The fire brought into use for the first time Palmyra’s newest pumper truck which was used at the scene while other trucks shuttled water from the edge of the city limits.
Crane said the state fire marshall is investigating to determine the exact cause of the explosion and fire.