Explosions from Federal Way house fire with ammunition inside

Staff writerMay 19, 2014 

Explosions peppered the scene of a fire at a Federal Way home Monday morning, where the homeowner told firefighters he had gunpowder and ammunition inside.

No one was hurt in the blaze, which started shortly before 9:30 a.m. in the 28500 block of 20th Avenue South.

The family inside the home was alerted to the fire when they heard an explosion in the garage, and were able to safely evacuate, South King Fire & Rescue assistant chief Ed Plumlee said.

When crews arrived, more explosions were occurring, and shell casings were found in the yard and driveway, he said.

“It was a pretty exciting scene to begin with,” Plumlee said. “It’s not like we were sitting there dodging bullets, though.”

He thinks most of the ammunition in the house was stored in boxes, not firearms, which means it didn’t travel far because it split instead of being propelled.

Still, the casings were landed up to about 20 feet from the home, and firefighters fought the blaze from the outside, he said, because of the risk of additional explosions.

Crews have not yet determined what caused the fire.

The house is likely a total loss, he said, and damage to a neighboring home melted a power meter, which means those residents also will be temporarily displaced.

Firefighters have no reason to think that the ammunition was illegal, Plumlee said.

“The guy was obviously a collector,” he added.


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