An early Wednesday fire claimed the life of a rural Neosho man.

William M. Benton I, 86, likely died of smoke inhalation, said Newton County Coroner Mark Bridges.

Bridges said authorities were called to the scene, located between Neosho and Seneca, shortly after 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Bridges said the fire appeared to have broken out in the front of the house.

He said Benton's daughter-in-law and her children were also home at the time of the blaze, though they escaped the home.

Authorities from the Seneca Area Fire Protection District, Redings Mill Fire Protection District, Neosho Fire Department, Wyandotte, Okla. Fire Department, the Newton County Sheriff's Department and Newton County Ambulance responded to the scene.

Bridges said the Missouri State Fire Marshal's Office also responded to investigate the cause of the fire.