Explosion rocks Mark Twain Lake

Firefighters are still looking into what sparked a large explosion in rural Ralls County, Mo. Sunday night.

At 9:45p.m. firefighters with the Perry Rural Fire Department were called to a residence, at 22910 Route J, owned by Bill Kuhlmann.

"I was at the house and heard the loudest explosion I ever heard before, because we get sonic booms all the time around here. I stepped outside to see if I could see an airplane in the sky and when I looked to my left, an eighth mile from the house, the whole area was orange with flames a hundred feet high," Kuhlmann said. "I told Vicki, my wife to call 911. The shop has exploded."

Kuhlmann owned a large garage space down the road from his home, across from the Ray Behrens Recreational Area and Campground on Mark Twain Lake.

Firefighters found the metal building engulfed in flames upon their arrival. Fire Chief Thomas Ragland says when the fire broke out, several welding and propane tanks exploded. The explosions were heard from as far as three miles away.

Fifteen firefighters with the Perry Rural Fire Department were able to get the fire contained by midnight.

"It was one of the biggest fires we've had in two years," Ragland said. "A lot of gas, a lot of explosions."

No one was hurt, though the shop is a total loss.

"It's a lifetime of tools and equipment and machines and historical race cars," Kuhlmann said.

Destroyed by the fire was the first race car in history to hit 200 miles an hour back in 1987. Kuhlmann had built it himself and was in the process of restoring it.

"This is really a kick in the gut," Kuhlmann said.

Chief Ragland says due to the damage, a cause will most likely be undetermined.

*KHQA's Brooke Hasch and Melissa Shriver contributed to this report