Investigators with the Missouri Fire Marshal's Office, on Tuesday, sifted through the remains of a 2-story building in downtown De Soto looking for clues to the cause of a devastating fire.
Two people were rescued after the four-alarm fire broke out in the building in the 600 block of South Main Street Monday around 8:20 p.m. Monday.
Larry Dean lived in a downstairs apartment and is pastor of The Global Gospel Outreach, which was also on the first floor.
"The lights flickered a couple of times and then there was a popping noise and rumbling sound," said Dean.
Dean said he heard an explosion and looked outside to see sparks and flames coming from wires on the outside of the building. But he said he was unable to go upstairs to alert others to the situation.
Dean told News 4, "The inside of the steps made of wood was already encircled with fire. The steps weren't quite catching but it was just pulling the flames up into the stairwell and I couldn't get up in there."
Paula Ashlock was recorded on cellphone video leaning out the window of her upstairs apartment screaming for help, as smoke poured out of the opening.
"I thought I was going to die," said Ashlock.
"When De Soto rural, whose firehouse is down the road, got here, there were two people hanging out the window," De Soto Fire Department Asst. Chief James Maupin said. "They rescued two subjects and a dog using ground ladders."
Fire officials said the cold weather and ice made fighting the fire difficult. Over 15 fire departments were called to the scene.
Dean said The Global Gospel Outreach" is primarily an addiction recovery center that also holds a church service on Sunday's and provides assistance to the homeless.
The organization said the fire was a setback but it plans to continue its work serving the community.
"With the epidemic the way it is, we've been instrumental in helping change some lives in this past year and-a-half and little fire ain't going to stop us from doing that," said associate pastor Allen Vest.
No firefighters were injured. After Ashlock was rescued from the building she was taken to the hospital for observation and later released..
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