Ammo cookoff in a fire...interesting...

Ammo cookoff in a fire...interesting...

This is a discussion on Ammo cookoff in a fire...interesting... within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Ammunition causes fire in Union City home, no injuries reported - 4/11/10 - San Francisco News - abc7news.com UNION CITY, CA (KGO) -- Ammunition exploded ...

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  1. #1
    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
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    Ammo cookoff in a fire...interesting...

    Ammunition causes fire in Union City home, no injuries reported - 4/11/10 - San Francisco News - abc7news.com
    UNION CITY, CA (KGO) -- Ammunition exploded in the back room of a Union City home on San Luces Way. Firefighters who showed up minutes after the fire, which was reported at 9:45 a.m. were forced to back away from the house.

    "We thought they were fireworks initially, so we were huffing up the stairs putting the fire out and officer Mendez comes up to us and says 'that popping sound you hear those are bullets going off.' So we had to back off," Ty Wilson from the Union City Fire Dept. said.

    "Thousands of rounds of ammunition were stored inside the room of origin along with a number of weapons," Assistant Fire Chief Andy Smith said.

    Neighbors say the bullets went off for more than 15 minutes. Residents of the homes bordering the fire were evacuated by police until the area was safe enough to approach.

    Next door neighbor Jermaine Miller showed ABC7 the exploded shells that littered his backyard.

    "It was kind of nerve wracking you know," he said.

    The ammunition that went off ranged from 22 and 32 caliber to shotgun shells. Police removed two assault rifles, two shotguns and other rifles and a pistol from the home.

    Laura Luke, who lives in the home with her son, says the ammunition and weapons belonged to her father and they were passed along to her brother who kept them in his room.

    She says the fire started with an electric blanket. Her brother declined an interview.

    "It's ammunition from like 20 years ago and that was just exploding all over the place," she said.

    Frightened neighbors from as far as a block away picked up spent ammunition from their front and backyards. A car a block away on San Carlos Way was hit by a round that cracked its windshield and fortunately there were no injuries.
    I never really thought this was possible. I always figured that with nothing to contain the pressure (ie a chamber) and the brass being considerably lighter than the bullet itself, that the brass would just burst and/or pop off at best. Apparently that may not be the case. I wonder though if that busted windshield was from lead or from the case.
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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array NC Bullseye's Avatar
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    Or if any of the guns in the fire were chambered that could cause a problem too.

  3. #3
    Member Array TheFreeman's Avatar
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    Wonder if the anti's will try to figure a way to limit the amount of ammo one can store in their own home. Because no one needs more than a box of ammo at a time...
    One of the most dangerous political philosophies afflicting America today is the belief that we can’t allow anyone to suffer the natural consequences of their own stupidity.

  4. #4
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    WOW.........UGH..........

    This brings back too many bad memories. I had a similar thing happen not too long ago.

    I got to observe up close, the cooking off, and aftermath of ammunition being destroyed by fire under several different storage methods.

    Here's what I observed:

    I think if you throw a handful of loose ammunition on a camp fire, typically it will blow out on the side of the case, sort of turning the ammo into a metal firecracker. I don't advise being around it, because some part of it could hit you, though I don't think it would necessarily be deadly.

    Ammunition that is not loose, for instance some that is tightly packed in a spam can or the likes is more dangerous because the tightness of the pack, I think, can help some rounds achieve some sense of pressure and fire a bullet that could be deadly. Of course the bullet probably won't have near the same ballistics as fired from a weapon, but from what I saw I don't necessarily want to be around it. I've seen the spam cans "shot" to pieces with many individual bullet holes. I've seen some quarter inch steel fairly well dented and dinged from multiple hits, enough to be impressive.

    We all fought the fire, and didn't back off, as my ammo cooked. We had chopped holes on the sides of a big metal storage building to access the fire. We were somewhat "shielded" from the bullets by that exterior wall, I never heard or felt a bullet hit the wall. I think the cooking ammo was under so much ashes/debris that it was kept somewhat confined as well. No one was hurt or hit by any bullet, but I can see how it could happen, and don't forget about your eyes.

    Should we had backed off? I don't know, maybe we were lucky, but we fought the fire with a vengence and kept it from becoming a total loss. Ideally I think that ammo storage should be kept in a outbuilding, if your home is on fire, without a lot of ammo, then the fireman can attack the fire with some sense of comfort. If the outbuilding catches on fire, and they back off because of the ammo, then you've lost your ammo but not your home.

    BTW the fire did some "funny" things. I found ammo in every imaginable condition. I'm going to make a more complete thread about all of this, but it'll have to be at a later date.

    DISCLAIMER- What I saw and experienced was just an observation, no scientific test, or definitive statement by me. My post here is only my opinion based on what I saw and heard during the fire, and what evidence I saw after the fire. I don't want my post here to motivate someone into "experimenting" with cooking bullets, so for the record I'm going to say "don't try any of this at home or anywhere else".
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

  5. #5
    Member Array HuttoAg96's Avatar
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    Mythbusters had a good episode I saw lately where they tested setting off ammo in an oven set to about 450 degrees or so. They used various calibers ranging from .22LR to 44 magnum to even a .50 BMG round. The could not get anything to go through both panes of glass in the oven door until they set the .44 off IN THE GUN. Naturally, this is the same as just pulling the trigger. Otherwise, the high speed camera showed there was more kinetic reaction from the lighter casing than there was from the bullet itself. No, you don't necessarily want to be around, but a loose round set off from heat isn't going to kill you.

    Linky video goodness -
    YouTube - Mythbusters - Bullets exploding inside an oven
    Last edited by HuttoAg96; April 12th, 2010 at 03:11 PM. Reason: added linky goodness

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    For over 45 years I have worked in US Army EOD and as a civlian EOD/UXO guy. I've burned an awful lot of small arms ammo, probably a billion rounds or two. Most of that ammo was burned in open pits with wood for dunnage. The bullets from small arms ammo burned in the open seldom travel more than 25 feet. When US military 5.56mm and 7.62mm ammo burns in closed cans the bullets never leave the can.

    Steel cased ammo makes a bigger bang when burned. Small pieces
    of the steel case sometimes go zinging around. 13.5mm and 14.5mm steel cased ammo make a really big bang when burned. It is dangerous to be near this stuff when it burns because of fragments of the case flying around.

  7. #7
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFreeman View Post
    Wonder if the anti's will try to figure a way to limit the amount of ammo one can store in their own home. Because no one needs more than a box of ammo at a time...
    Actually, a lot of municipalities already have limits on keeping "explosive" or "flammable" material, which probably, if somebody pushed the issue, would apply to ammo even if it is not specifically mentioned.

    I have been told by a number of people, though I have not yet verified for myself, that one needs special zoning or permits in Maryland to keep more than (I think) 8# of powder or 10k primers. I am not sure if the appropriate regs/rules/laws say anything abotu whether or not those primers happen to be part of loaded ammunition...
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFreeman View Post
    Wonder if the anti's will try to figure a way to limit the amount of ammo one can store in their own home. Because no one needs more than a box of ammo at a time...
    I bet if you check, there are already ordinances in place concerning the amount of "explosives" that can be stored in the home, and how it must be stored.
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  9. #9
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by packinnova View Post
    Ammunition causes fire in Union City home, no injuries reported - 4/11/10 - San Francisco News - abc7news.com

    I never really thought this was possible. I always figured that with nothing to contain the pressure (ie a chamber) and the brass being considerably lighter than the bullet itself, that the brass would just burst and/or pop off at best. Apparently that may not be the case...
    It was the case.

    Ammunition as was stored and chambered in the guns reported to be in the room is what caused the distant projectile firing (broken car glass etc.).

    Ammunition not stored within a container/cylinder strong enough to contain pressure (20K+PSI!) will not result in the projectile firing with any degree of velocity. This is basic physics.

    Unfortunately many people including firefighters do not understand this. Resulting in commonly house fires being left to 'cookoff' and ultimately be destroyed for simple ignorance.
    Conventional ammo cooking off is no more dangerous than firecrackers. The projectiles(bullets, shot and slugs) will not have hardly any means to generate energy to penetrate much more than the paper box they were kept in.

    - Janq

    P.S. - As an experiment take five .22LR rounds and place them in a metal bucket.
    Pour a bit of starter fluid, just a little lie a short spray NOT a lot, into the bucket onto the ammo.
    Drop a lit match into the bucket and stand bac so as to not be caught by the flames.
    LISTEN. You'll hear the rounds pop like firecrackers. OMG!!!
    Let burn off for a minute or three then put out with water. Recover the shells and projectiles. Note their condition.
    Physics.
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  10. #10
    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    JANG : is correct. I would only be repeating it.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Array Old Sarge's Avatar
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    I have to agree with Jang. As a retired volunteer firefighter, I have experienced the same situation on a couple of occasions. The rounds were cooking off, and of really no consequences. Nothing going beyond about 25 or 30 feet, and then with very insignificant damages.

  12. #12
    Member Array LeChuck's Avatar
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    Maybe because I'm not a fire fighter, but I couldn't blame anyone for letting a house burn if ammo is going off inside. While the damage from a cooked off round might be insignificant, there's always the chance that one will do significant damage. Not to mention loaded firearms could potentially hurt or kill a person in your party.

    Then again, I couldn't blame anyone for not running into a burning building. The whole idea seems...crazy to me. Then again, I might just be a little *****...

  13. #13
    Member Array lands5's Avatar
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    I've got to say, as a firefighter, that is pretty impressive. I have been to several dwelling fires where there was ammo cooking off, but nothing ever made it outside the house that I know of.

    To have a round punch through a windshield a block away, either the round was chambered, or as some have already said, tightly packed in a "spam" can.

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    In fact I'm right now grilling a steak.

    I'm going to go toss a .22LR on the now hot coals and record the results using my cell cam.
    Stand by for posting of the vid tonight after I finish up dinner and get the kids bathed & bedded.

    Edit:

    Result...I placed one round primer down on to semi-cooled ashen coals.
    Waited approx. 7 seconds and POP...Just like a firecracker.
    But I forgot to hit REC on my camera. Damn.
    So I ran and grabbed a second round. It fell on it's side on to the coals. Apprx. 4s later POP!
    Bitss of coals as shrapnel flew about (to be expected) but that was all. I've got it on video.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  15. #15
    Member Array LeChuck's Avatar
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    Here lies Janq, he was a good man, though his cooking had a tendency to taste of gun powder. In nomine patri et etc. etc. etc.

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