East Prairie man charged with arson, child endangerment after fire

Benjamin Corey Wallace (Source: Mississippi County Sheriff's Office)
Benjamin Corey Wallace (Source: Mississippi County Sheriff's Office)

ANNISTON, MO (KFVS) - An East Prairie man was arrested on arson and child endangerment charges.

Benjamin Corey Wallace, 30, of East Prairie was arrested Thursday for first degree arson and three counts of child endangerment.

Mississippi County Sheriff's deputies responded to an Anniston home after a hotline call to the Missouri Department of Family Services.

As deputies tried to make contact with the people inside, they heard a whistling sound followed by a loud pop.  Black smoke immediately followed bellowing out of the rear window of the home.

Chief Deputy Charlie Marcum entered the home to make sure everyone inside was safe.

The East Prairie Fire Department responded and began to attempt to extinguish the blaze.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

According to the Mississippi County Sheriff's Office, it is possible that the fire began as a result of methamphetamine production.

An Associated Press survey confirmed that Missouri regained the top spot for lab seizures in 2011 with just more than 2,000 busts.

"I want to thank my deputies for their dedication and courage demonstrated in this incident, the East Prairie Fire Department arrived in record time and immediately went to work attempting to extinguish the engulfed structure, everyone did a fantastic job and thankfully no loss of life occurred. These are extremely dangerous situations, and moments count, it was the quick thinking and action on part of the officers and speedy response from the fire department that maintained a sad situation from being a tragic one, thank you all," said Mississippi County Sheriff Keith Moore in a press release.

Wallace is being held in the Mississippi County Detention Center with a bond of $250,000.

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