Friday, March 27, 2009

Update & a little PSH

Since yesterday's fire, I've been checking the local news for updates on my neighbors* and details have been trickling in...

Bill was walking Bonnie the dog and came home to find the house on fire. He and ran in pulled his sick wife out of the fire and rushed her to the local hospital. They both suffered burns - he was treated and released and she is in critical condition after being flown by helicopter to a larger hospital in Cleveland.

The house is a total loss and is going to be condemned.

Five different fire departments were called in to assist. Initially, firefighters were told to leave the home because it was hazardous; ammunition and oxygen were inside the home.**
Wait, what?

Okay, the danger of oxygen tanks I can understand- in fact, I'm certain I heard an ominous "whoomp!"-type explodey sound before I noticed the fire - but the ammunition? I know I'm no expert, but from what I've heard (& correct me if I'm wrong) ammunition is less dangerous in a fire than a simple can of aerosol hairspray and it's certainly not reason enough to delay search and rescue. But in case of fire, it seems we gunnies might just be on our own.

Anyway, there were also two small bits of good news amidst the heartbreak - Bonnie the dog is fine and I live on a street with other gunowners. (yay! on both counts)

*they don't live next door to us, so they are not next door neighbors..but seeing how we live in the same neighborhood and the golden rule is "love thy..." it seems a fitting term.

** I got this from a local news story. I'm not going to link it because it gives a few too many details of where I live. I suppose if you're determined, anything can be found on google...but remember, stalking a librarian who is a very good shot is a really stupid thing to do. Just sayin'.


Stryker said...



oxygen tank

Anonymous said...

A few years ago, I was getting crank calls and whatnot and had to make myself unlisted in the phone books. These days, I figure if anyone's crazy enough to attack me, that person will end up with a big hole in front and an eve bigger hole out the back.

I hope your neighbor's wife comes out okay, but it doesn't sound like the prognosis is good. She was already sickly when the fire happened, but add to that the burns she just suffered, recovery will be long and painful, if she recovers at all.

I am praying for all of you.

ravenshrike said...

Determined? You quoted the piece in your post. It requires less effort than your average lolcats search

breda said...

Stryker, thanks for the comparison.

Wai & everyone else - thank you

ravenshrike - Well, I guess "determined" depends on how lazy you are.

alan said...

I used to throw .22 rounds in the campfire all the time when I was a kid. They just pop like firecrackers.

Yes it was stupid, but no more than shooting bottle rockets and roman candles at each other. Or any of the other hundreds of fun but dangerous things kids used to be able to do.

Anonymous said...

I think SAAMI actually publishes a pamphlet on ammunition hazards to firefighters.

Short answer is that ammunition isn't particularly hazardous.


Mr. Fixit said...

I've been doing it (firefighting) for 20 years now. Never worried about ammunition. Not really to worried about oxygen bottles, at least the small home health type.

I wonder, having seen this before, if perhaps the fire started at or very near her bed. That would account for the worse burns she received. Plus oxygen saturation of her clothes and bedding from using oxygen full time would make the fire worse in that area.

I hope she turns out OK.

Mr Fixit

Laura said...

glad everyone survived, hope everyone heals up OK.

capo del fuoco said...


I am a lurker that admires your writing and the gun nuts show...but PSH is a little rough. I am a retired fire chief and proud gun owner. While ammo is not my number one concern in a residential fire (to which I have been to hundreds), it is disconcerting when it is going off while you are crawling around in the dark, smokey, and unfamiliar building. The oxygen cylinders are a big deal and when they launch they will go through walls and sometimes be found blocks away. It is a call that the initial responders have to make themselves. You have to consider that if your neighbor has ammo, how likely is it that he has loaded firearms as well? I know that I do. When rounds cook off in a firearm (in the chamber) they act just the same as if they were fired...take that into consideration as well when labeling it as PSH. I hope that your neighbors get better and that they can put their lives back together again.


Miz Minka said...

Breda, in order to reduce access to details about where you live, you should delete Lydia's comment in the previous post because she published the URL to the Channel 5 news story.

(No offense, Lydia!)

Weer'd Beard said...

Capo has a good point.

Where there's ammo there's guns. When there's guns and ammo, there could be loaded guns.

And I certainly wouldn't want to take a hot brass to the SCBA helmet....

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

It for fire safety alone that while most of my guns in the safe stay loaded, I don't chamber a round. They're not quick accessible for immediate defense, anyway. And there is only one or two OUTSIDE the safe that I use for home defense.

Joseph said...

Fire scares the hell out of me.

I spent a couple of rotations on a burn unit in paramedic school. The damage and pain from burns is...significant. And lasting. Not to mention disfigurement, infection and unaffordable bills.

As much as we talk about being prepared for bad guys, SHTF, etc. Fire is one thing everyone should have a plan for also...smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, escape routs, etc. Please, guys, this kind of thing happens every day and you don't want it to happen to your or yours.

km said...

What danger does ammo have to a firefighter if the ammo and extra guns are in a gun safe? I would think that a gun safe would protect the firefighter. I have never thought about this...

So if I store quite a bit of ammo in a safe I need to find out what the safe can bear from an internal explosion? I put the ammo in the safe to help keep a thief from turning the safe over. Even though the safe is bolted into the foundation.

Stretch said...

KM: Do NOT store ammo in safe. Lesson given to me as cadet at FLETC by Treasury personnel who had investigated a few cases of ammo in safes reaching detonation temperature and turning safe into large grenades.
Have my Uncle Jack's old fire helmet with groove down side from a .30-30 round cooking of in a dresser.
He had no idea he could crawl backwards that fast.

Anonymous said...

The NRA did studies years ago about cooking off rounds.

The bullet goes nowhere, since it's the heaviest part.

The only high velocity fragment is the primer.

Maybe a research topic for our reference librarian?


Old NFO said...

Glad they are both alive, and I hope she recovers fully from the burns.

Anonymous said...

I'd be curious to learn if the oxygen bottle to which Stryker linked was a matter of an oily tool? All of the tools we use on oxygen systems are dedicated and carefully cleaned to avoid such excitement. Also, I'd worry more about the brass than the bullet, too, although I hadn't thought about the primer separating.

I do hope things are as good as they can be for your neighbours.


Anonymous said...

I am friends with a few firemen and common to all is a gross over the top attitude about safety to the point of obsesion.
OK. I get it there are many many ways to be injured and killed.
Each of us has to decide what burning building we will enter balanced with the risk.

B Smith said...

Lol: Now, even if I were a criminal-minded type, I am far too lazy to stalk and/or harass a woman who lives on the other end of the state, desirable as she may be, and I'm too sensible to stalk/harass one who may shoot at me. Adding a largish, protective husband to the mix does nothing to increase the supposed benefits of the deal, either.

My prayers and best wishes go to your neighbors.

the pistolero said...

You better watch out, or somebody's gonna accuse you of bein' a hothead, if you know who I mean and I think you do.... ;-)

On a Wing and a Whim said...

If I were to try to meet you, it would be by trying to email you and noting I'll be down in the wilds of the lower 48, is there any chance I could meet up with you?

I'm glad to hear the neighbors are alive; I hope and pray they recover and heal well. Houses can be rebuilt; people are far more important.

breda said...

Prearranged meetings are always acceptable. Lurking in the hedges? Not so much.

mattcaron said...

I think the ammo stuff has largely been covered by the other posters, so all I feel like contributing is to quip:

That's why you should keep your ammo loaded in magazines! The mag will keep the bits together much better than a cardboard box!