A Seneca man is dead after fighting a Tuesday evening fire at his residence, according to emergency responders.

Newton County Coroner Mark Bridges said 58-year-old Harvey Partain appeared to have suffered a heart attack and was pronounced dead at 7:48 p.m. at Freeman West Hospital in Joplin.

He said it was reported that Partain was attempting to fight the fire with a water hose when he suffered the heart attack.

According to Manford Vangunda, with the Seneca Area Fire Protection District, authorities responded to the fire at 15587 Highway K, just east of Seneca, around 6:45 p.m. Tuesday evening.

He said the fire had started in the shed, then spread to the garage, though the house was saved in the blaze.

While there were reports of an explosion, Vangunda said it is believed that propane tanks located in the garage exploded after the fire had started.
He said the official cause of the fire remains undetermined, as the state fire marshal continues to investigate.

“It took about an hour to get the fire under control,” Vangunda said.

He said firefighters from the Seneca Area Fire Protection District, City of Seneca Fire Department, and Redings Mill Fire Protection District all responded to the fire.

While the fire was out after an hour, Vangunda said authorities remained on scene for a total of about three hours to investigate.