VIDEO: Ammo explodes in Gilbert house fire

Posted at 11:50 AM, Feb 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-08 09:12:42-05

Gilbert Fire Department says hundreds of rounds of ammunition exploded during a house fire Sunday morning. 

Fire officials received calls about the fire near Ray and McQueen roads around 10 a.m. At the home, they found a fully involved attic and garage fire.

"I don't think there is anything they can salvage," neighbor Nick Janicki said. "It looks terrible."

Neighbors reported hearing explosions as firefighters fought the blaze, which fire officials say were at least several hundred rounds of ammunition being discharged. 

 "All I heard was, 'Pop, pop, pop,' and (saw) billowing black smoke," neighbor Bonnie Janicki said.

Up to 40 rounds reportedly hit the home, but did not penetrate the walls. A firefighter was reportedly struck by one of the rounds, but his face mask stopped him from suffering any injuries.

In addition, gas tanks of three cars in the garage ruptured, sending gasoline and a rolling fire down the driveway. 

"Sounded like microwave popcorn going off in there," neighbor Bruce Bettis said. “[I warned my wife to] stay away from the windows because I knew exactly what was happening."

Gilbert Fire Department says the homeowner suffered burn injuries to his hands and face and was taken to a burn center for treatment.

Officials don't yet know how the fire began, but they believe something went wrong in the home, possibly while the homeowner was working with the ammunition in the garage.

“[Sounded like] firecrackers, it was really weird. I had no idea what was going on. It was scary,” neighbor Nick Janicki said.

The exact cause is under investigation.