Schell City is mourning the death of Schell City Fire Chief Dale Haddix, 70, who perished after having responded to a July 4 fire caused by what officials described as "the improper use of fireworks."
Haddix died while assisting with firefighting efforts, and officials hope an autopsy on Haddix, whose body has been transported to Springfield for examination, will determine a cause of death.
"We don't have any results yet and it might take awhile, we'll just have to see." Vernon County Sheriff Ron Peckman said.
Peckman said Haddix was dedicated to keeping the community safe.
"You couldn't keep him away from a fire," Peckman said. "He was a good guy and loved helping the community."
Haddix was well thought of in the community -- so much so that local resident Thelma Shutters penned a poem in his honor, which appears on the Opinion page of today's edition of the Nevada Daily Mail.
Peckman said arson charges had been filed against Charles Stewart, 18, Schell City, and other charges were being considered.
"A warrant has been issued with two counts of arson with a $50,000 bond," Peckman said.
Case information available online indicated that Stewart was arraigned in a Vernon County Circuit court Monday morning, and pleaded not guilty. His next court appearance, a pre-trial conference, is set for July 16.
"The investigation is continuing with the Vernon County Sheriff's Office and the State Fire Marshall's office," Peckman said.
Officials said Saturday's fire began in an unoccupied dwelling and spreadfrom there to a storage building to the west owned by the Schell City Methodist Church.
Due to the ongoing investigation, officials did not release specific information on how fireworks were misused.
Republished with permission of the Nevada Daily Mail
Funeral services for Chief Haddix will be held Friday, July 10 at 10:30 a.m. at the Schell City Christian Church in Schell City, Mo.
Burial is planned in the Green Lawn Cemetery, in Schell City.