PRESTON, Mo. — A second suspicious fire appears to have targeted one of the local motorcycle clubs involved in the infamous fatal gunfight on the Lake Ozark Strip last month. LakeExpo has confirmed that on Tuesday, Aug. 3, the home of Tonka Way-Con Ponder, who is currently facing felony charges related to the gunfight, was burned to the ground. Ponder was released on bond, on July 27.
The Preston Volunteer Fire Departmenhttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGXB1E6ANpMWxusFHcqq-AAt Chief confirmed to LakeExpo that firefighters were called to the home at 36009 Hwy 54, Preston, Mo. at approximately 1 a.m., and battled the blaze for around 4.5 hours. No one was home at the time of the fire, and no one was injured, but the home was a total loss. CaseNet lists that location, just west of Macks Creek on Highway 54, as Ponder’s home address.
The fire chief said the fire was determined to be suspicious in nature, and the state fire marshal’s office was contacted. However due to the extent of the damage, investigators could not determine the specific cause. “We didn’t have anything left to investigate,” the fire chief told LakeExpo.
This is the second fire to apparently target the Midwest Drifters Motorcycle Club, of which Ponder is a member, since the fatal July 15 gunfight that injured four and killed one, making national headlines. The night of July 20, the Midwest Drifters’ local chapter clubhouse was damaged by fire; the next morning, officials with local, state, and federal agencies were on the scene, investigating. As of Friday, Aug. 6, no charges had been filed in connection with that fire.