It’s all about the headlines

From the outside, the Marathon house doesn’t seem to be badly damaged.

But the blaze destroyed the home on Wednesday night, according to owner John Underwood. He is a crime-scene investigator with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and told the Keynoter Thursday morning the five-bedroom house is a total loss.

According to a Facebook post from the Monroe Sheriff’s Office, Underwood, his wife and grandchildren were in the house when the fire broke out just before 11 p.m.


The headline to the story reads “A fire started, the ammo exploded —and now a sheriff’s investigator is without a home”, yet when you get into the story there’s only a brief mention of the ammo and none about any damage that it may have caused.

Ammo doesn’t react like most people think when it’s in a fire. It doesn’t explode with projectiles flying everywhere killing people 3 blocks away. There are videos on youtube where fire departments have proven that.
A cartridge needs the constriction of a firearm’s chamber to propel the bullet forward. Without that, the bullet just kinda pops out of the case and rolls around. That’s why firearm chambers have tight chambers – it contains the ignition and forces the gases and the bullet in front of it in one direction – out the barrel.
Same thing with gunpowder – you can store gunpowder in it’s original canister and if there’s a fire, all you’re gonna get is a burn. It’ll only explode if it’s contained in something that doesn’t allow the pressure to readily escape.

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17 Responses to It’s all about the headlines

  1. Winston Smith says:

    Ask any fireman and they’ll tell you unconfined ammo isn’t any big deal. Then they’ll tell you how much they fear black powder. Don’t store black powder anywhere you want firemen to save the structure.

  2. cynical says:

    My father’s neighbor have a reloading “club house” in his back yard … caught fire, suckered was HOT! Only destroyed the small building and melted the siding off everyones homes. Insurance gave him a hard time but got alot of it back.

  3. somedude says:

    i’ve been on a structure fire with inside ammo and have had a projectile hit a tree next too me. you’re correct about the pressure but still shit happens. i think the projectile did not have enough to go thru turnouts or face shield. we have more fear of black power and people who store bulk ammo in gun safes or like on a fire were the home owner says he has explosive in the basement….

    • Wirecutter says:

      I’m not saying the bullet won’t travel, but like you said, it doesn’t have penetrating power.
      My powder jugs are stored in a wooden cabinet behind swing-out doors and my ammo is stored in plastic and wooden containers. Safety first.

      • crazyeighter says:

        Stirrin’ the puddin’ here. What about metal G.I. ammo cans?

        • Wirecutter says:

          I don’t know and that’s why my ammo is in plastic cans or wooden boxes.
          I never took the time to research it because there just wasn’t a need for me to take the time to do so.

        • singlestack says:

          I don’t know about loaded rounds cooking off in one, but loose powder in one can cook off with enough force to kill someone nearby.

      • Glider Rider says:

        Would it even leave a bruise? I thought they would fly with force. The more you know…..

    • =TW= says:

      If the cartridge is unconfined when ignited, the component which weighs less (either the case or the bullet) will travel farthest. This is explained by one of Newton’s Laws I believe.
      We have tested this under scientifically controlled conditions, while observing prudent safety concerns.*
      The results were gratifying but not spectacular. There were no loud detonations, no fireballs, no damage to surroundings, wildlife or structures. No one was injured during the course of these experiments.
      I can state with confidence that in our experiments a .22 LR bullet will remain at or near the starting point. The shell will take off in a random direction and may come to rest somewhere within a 30 ft. radius centered approximately 180 degrees opposite the bullet.

      Disclaimer: While none of us are Rocket Scientists, this does resemble rocket science, at least at some level. Some of the participants could be considered practical ballisticians. Ancillary personnel might be considered practical jokers

      * (Tossed a box of .22s into the coals of the fire pit at the Desert Resort.)

  4. singlestack says:

    Here’s what happens when ammo burns. Prepare to watch over a half million rounds go up in smoke.

  5. Andrew says:

    My dad described what he and his friends used to do for ‘fun’ with dynamite. Sit in a circle about 10-15 feet from the stick, set it off, get blown over, no damage.

    He always cautioned never to put anything over the dynamite, like a bucket or a piece of wood.

    Just that much containment made a stick go from boom-fun to boom-fuck.

    Pressure containment is what kills you.

  6. Matt says:

    Ok— yes as a general rule ammo does not go off and shoot as if it was in a gun—but as with everything else there is an exception to this rule. In August 2014 my house caught on fire from a lighting strike and burned to the ground. I had around 10,000 rounds of ammo from 22 to 45-70 Everything went off harmlessly except for the 7.62×39 steel cased Russian ammo. It was stored in a 50 cal ammo box. The ammo box looked like swiss cheese after the fire. No one was hurt but it made a few butts pucker when the firemen saw that ammo box. So never say never as it can happen. ( I have pics somewhere)

    • =TW= says:

      Interesting. Can you explain it?
      Was the other ammo also in steel cans?
      I’ll have to ponder this.

      • Matt says:

        I had other ammo in steel cans.No problem with them. The reason the 7.62 fired through the steel ammo box was due to being steel cased ammo. Brass is relatively soft and many of those cases were blown out the sides with the bullet still seated in the case mouth. The steel cases are strong enough to contain the ignition of the powder and resultant gases long enough to propel the bullet through the side of the ammo box . These were wwII ammo boxes 50 cal. About 35 of the 400 or so pieces of ammo in the box fired off. All did not fire.

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