LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. (LakeExpo.com) – An explosion rocked Willows Condominiums last night sending up in flames nine units at the 1-mile marker in Lake Ozark, Mo.
Residents were preparing to grill on the ground floor of the three-story building when a propane tank exploded at 7:40 p.m. near the parking lot side, according to witnesses. Two men in the first-floor condo jumped over the rails of the deck on the lake side and ran to the back, one rushing for the condo of a woman renting on the third floor. Having heard the explosion, she exited and escaped down the steps.
Flames completely consumed the building as neighbors watched in disbelief.
The Lake Ozark Fire Protection arrived first with trucks, followed by fireboats from Rocky Mount and Sunrise Beach. Firefighters attacked the structure with ladder trucks supplied by a near-by hydrant and lake water pumped from the two emergency vessels.
Firefighters briefly attempted entry to no avail and retreated to a defensive position.
It took firefighters an hour to contain the blaze to the single building and Lake Ozark Fire Chief Mark Amsinger could only speculate as to how many thousands of gallons of water were used to get the structure to the skeleton and a heap of debris still smoldering at 1 a.m. this morning.
From the lake side, a boater could look straight through the building to find two melted cars in the parking lot on the other side.
Full-time residents, who lost all of their possessions, sought relief from the American Red Cross and stayed with family and friends for the night.
Having lost nearly all of his belongings and a car purchased only months earlier, one resident told of the series of explosions he witnessed as the fire raged through several propane tanks stored on the parking lot side of the building.
“Well, tomorrow’s a new day,” he said attempting to stay above it, so obviously down in it.
Chief Amsinger said a final determination of cause had not been made by the fire marshal.
No one was injured in the fire.
Willows Condominiums is located off of Duckhead Road, near Horseshoe Bend Parkway, at the back of the cove occupied by the Ozark Yacht Club at the 1-mile marker. The destroyed building is located in the back of the cove to starboard.
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