Throw a single cartridge, box, or even cases of ammunition into a burning building, and you run no risk of of being shot by bullets whizzing out of the engulfed structure. That is a proven fact apparently not only lost on South Florida’s news media (which we frankly expect), but also apparently on firefighters who recently fought a blaze at the home of a Dania Beach gun collector.
“What we don’t know, is what’s contained in a person’s home and that’s one of the biggest dangers we have,” Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue Assistant District Chief Bruce Caruso said.
Vaughn was a gun collector and had pieces dating all the way back to World War I. Along with all of the weapons, he also had quite a bit of ammunition. All of it was in the house when it went up in flames.
“The ammunition was already starting to degrade from the heat,” Caruso said. “It wasn’t only the box that melted. The ammunition itself was near the point where it would’ve gone off.”
Neighbor Gloria Lawson told NBC 6, “I was standing in front of his house before the fire department got here. I had no idea there was such danger, imminent danger.”
Thanks to Vaughn’s neighbor and friend Frank Lopes, firefighters were aware of the potential explosive situation.
“I said the man was a gun collector and there could be ammunition in the house,” Lopes said. “When I told them that, that’s when they cleared the roads and got everybody out of the neighborhood and told me to go back in my house.”
Caruso said that’s when crews started what is called a defense attack. Firefighters stayed back a bit and took cover when they could.
It is sad that firefighting professionals aren’t better educated on the fact proven fact that modern ammunition doesn’t explode, or “fire” when burned, it simply “pops” like popcorn, posing little to no risk to firefighters, or anyone else.
The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) created a training film called Sporting Ammunition and the Fire Fighter over a year ago, in which they tortured hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition to show just how stable modern ammunition is, even in large quantities.
Whether it was run over, shot, or burned by the case, modern ammunition is incredibly stable in even the worst conditions.
It looks like far too few professional firefighters have incorporated this this information into their training. Let’s help get that information out there!