Beacon, IA – BEACON – An elderly Beacon man died Friday night when an explosion and fire reduced his home to rubble.

The blast, which is suspected to have been caused by a propane leak, tore through the home at 833 Oskaloosa Road about 11:30 p.m., killing 89-year-old Loyd Baker, the lone occupant.

After the call came into the Mahaska County 911 Center, members of the Mahaska County Sheriff’s Department secured the scene until the fire marshal arrived. Meanwhile, 16 firefighters from the Oskaloosa Fire Department battled the blaze. Also assisting at the scene were the Sheriff’s Reserves, the Red Cross and Mahaska Ambulance.

Oskaloosa firefighters strained until around 7:30 a.m. Saturday to extinguish all traces of the fire. When all was said and done, the house at 833 Oskaloosa was burned to the ground. Sparse remains of property can be identified in some areas, while most of the area has been reduced to blackened ruins.

Although most of the neighboring properties were secured without damage, one property to the west, the closest to the Baker house, did have damage on the west side.

While the cause of the explosion and fire is still undetermined, according to the Mahaska County Sheriff’s Department, Baker had filled his propane tank earlier in the day. The Sheriff’s Department also reported that he had contacted his daughter sometime prior to the explosion with concerns about a propane leak. The Oskaloosa Fire Department and State Fire Marshal’s Office will continue their investigation into the cause of the fire. All possibilities are being considered at this time. Updates will be posted as investigators get closer to determining a cause. No one else was injured in the fire Friday night.