An explosion — possibly caused by a propane leak — caused the fire that took the life of Charles Dale Tolentino on Jan. 5 in a house near Hallsville, investigators from the State Fire Marshal's Office and the Boone County Fire Protection District have determined.

The Boone County Medical Examiner's Office said that until toxicology results are available, the cause of Tolentino's death can't be conclusively determined but smoke inhalation was suspected.

Tolentino was 68 years old. He was an owner of D&D Farm & Animal Sanctuary just off Old Highway 63 on Creasy Springs Road, which housed and cared for exotic animals. A Google listing describes the sanctuary as permanently closed.

The Boone County Fire Protection District said in a news release that firefighters were dispatched to the split-level home at 10100 N. Hague Road. They were told when they arrived that a man was trapped inside the home near the back door. They entered the home through that door and found a man on the upper level unresponsive. They removed him from the house and began performing CPR.

He was later pronounced dead at University Hospital. 

Twenty-seven firefighters and two ambulances responded to the fire, which was extinguished quickly. 

  • Public Health and Safety Reporter, Fall 2020 Studying news reporting/writing Reach me at fmnkm@mail.missouri.edu

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