Two individuals injured in a March 28 church fire are recovering at a St. Louis hospital.
According to Madison County officials, Bob and Steven Starkey were in the basement of Mountain View Church on Route A outside Marquand. The two men were working on the church’s furnace, when a propane explosion started the fire.
Thursday morning, Cherokee Pass Fire Chief Bill Starkey said the two injured were his brother Bob and nephew Steven. He said both were transported by ambulance to Mercy Hospital in St. Louis and are in stable condition.
“Bob, my brother didn’t get burnt near as bad as the boy (Steven),” Chief Starkey said. “It’s going to be a real long road for (Steven). He was burnt on his face, arms and chest and they put him in a medically-induced coma because of the pain with cleaning the wounds.”
Chief Starkey said Steven will most likely remain in the coma for a few weeks while he recovers.
Tuesday morning, Chief Starkey said Steve had skin graft surgery on his arms Monday. Prior to the surgery, Steve had burns to 37 percent of his body. Doctors indicated the percentage was reduced to 25-30 percent after the surgery. Bob is scheduled for skin graft surgery this week.
The Marquand Fire Department received the call at 4:32 p.m., and called the Cherokee Pass Fire Department for assistance. Chief Starkey said the fire was under control by 6 p.m. He there was no chance of saving the building.
Chief Starkey said the department took five trucks to assist in the fire and had to haul water to the scene as well.
“This was a pretty major thing. The church is destroyed,” Chief Starkey said. “There was a lot of fire when we arrived because the explosion pushed the fire through it instantly.”
The two fire departments, Madison County Sheriff’s Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Missouri State Fire Marshal were on the scene until 10:45 p.m.
“From what I was told Bob helped his son up and got out of the building on their own,” Chief Starkey said. “I was told that Bob told medics that he almost grabbed the fire extinguisher and went back in.”
Mountain View Church took to Facebook March 29 saying, “We would like to thank all of the firefighters, officers, highway patrol, paramedics and anyone I may have missed, that responded to the fire Wednesday for all they did for us and for Bob and Steve. You came out and risked your lives to try and save an important part of our lives, and for that we are forever grateful. You will never know how much your dedication to our community meant to us. May God bless each and every one of you, and we pray you return home safely after each and every call you respond to from this day on. Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts.”
The church was able to have Easter services in the fellowship hall/gymnasium, Sunday
Sunday evening, the church Facebook page included the following post:
“We have had some people ask how to donate to the church. This is a link to the Go Fund Me page, or you can contact a member of the Church. https://www.gofundme.com/preeaster-church-explosion
“I don’t want to leave Bob and Steve out. The link to their Go Fund Me page is below, or you can donate at First State Community Bank in Fredericktown. https://www.gofundme.com/church-explosion-burn-victims
“We sincerely thank everyone who has donated to us and to Bob and Steve! May God Bless You All!”
In addition, an April 28 benefit is planned for Steve and Bob Starkey. The benefit will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Marquand Park. It will include horseshoes, sand volleyball, and cornhole tournaments. There will be live music, auction items (including some guided hunts), activities for children, food and more. For more information check the “Bob and Steve Starkey Benefit” Facebook page or call 573-561-4766.