Coroner: man died of 'fire related injuries' in Poplar Bluff arson

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - Preliminary autopsy results show a Poplar Bluff man likely died of carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation.

Tara Maxfield, 41, is facing charges of arson and murder. She is accused of setting the fire to the three-unit apartment building on Poplar Street. It happened on Sunday, June 4.

During court on June 8, Maxfield pleaded not guilty to the charges against her.

When fire crews arrived, the building was already engulfed in flames.

Tommy Younger, 57, was killed.

According to police, there were five people inside the building when the fire was set.

Investigators believe the fire started on the porch, then quickly spread to the rest of the building.

Four of the people who were in the building got out in time including the person living on the top floor, Paul Boyer.

Boyer said he had to rip out his air conditioning unit and jump from the second story window.

"I dropped out of the second story window and managed to escape death," Boyer said. "Last thing I really remember is the guy down stairs hollering saying save me help me I'm burning alive. All I could think of is I couldn't get to him.".

Younger, the man who was not able to get out of the building on his own, was taken to an area hospital. He died on Monday, June 5.

Missouri State Fire Marshal personnel determined that the fire was intentionally set.

The Poplar Bluff/Butler County Major Case Squad was activated.

Maxfield was taken to the Poplar Bluff Police Department for questioning.

According to police, she ultimately admitted to setting the fire and was cooperating with the investigation.

Maxfield has been charged with one count of murder 2nd degree, one count of arson first degree, and four counts of first-degree assault.

She is being held with a $250,000 cash only bond. Maxfield is due back in court on June 15 for a case review.

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