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Early chopper video: Fatal house fire in Anne Arundel County, MD with ammo exploding. Neighbors jump in to help.

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Raw video above from TV news chopper via WUSA-TV of a fatal fire in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Fire officials say they were hampered by stored hunting ammunition exploding. In the video, neighbors are also using garden hoses and in the image below (from about 5:30 in the raw video) it looks like one civilian picks up something a little bit bigger. Reporter Scott Broom talks to neighbors and firefighters in the video at the bottom of the page.

Scott Broom,

Rescuers trying to get to a disabled man trapped in a burning trailer home were met with flying bullets as ammunition stored inside the house exploded on Wednesday morning.

The trapped man was eventually discovered dead inside the home. Fire officials have not released his identity, but neighbors said he was a 55-year old husband, father and grandfather who was disabled.  His wife had gone to work.

The fire is being investigated as an accident. Rescuers believe the ammunition was for hunting and was stored inside the house.

After briefly taking cover, rescuers quickly determined they were not under attack and began pouring water on the house quickly, said Lt. Cliff Kooser of the Anne Arundel County Fire Dept.

Neighbors said the fire was so intense, there was little hope of rescuing the trapped man, despite the exploding ammunition.

The fire was reported just after 8 a.m. at 9 Zona St. in the Parkway Village trailer community in Maryland City.

Press release from Anne Arundel County Fire Department Division Chief Keith Swindle:

At 8:26 a.m. on Wednesday, January 2, 2013, Anne Arundel County Firefighters were dispatched to a reported dwelling fire in the unit block of Zona Road in the Parkway Village Mobile Home Park located in the Maryland City area of Anne Arundel County.  The first unit to arrive on the scene reported visible fire coming from a one-story double-wide mobile home.  An aggressive fire suppression and search/rescue operation was then initiated by the first arriving crews.  In all, it took approximately 40 Firefighters from Anne Arundel, Ft.Meade, Prince Georges and Howard County Fire Departments 45 minutes to bring the “All Hands” incident under control.  After the fire was extinguished, Firefighters working on the first floor living area of the home located the body of an occupant that Fire Department personnel determined had suffered fatal injuries as a result of the incident and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The fire was reported by neighbors who were alerted to the incident when they observed smoke coming from the home.  The fire which originated on the first floor of the dwelling caused an estimated $150,000 in damages.  The exact cause of the fire remains under investigation. 

At this time, the name of the victim and the immediate cause of death are being withheld pending positive identification and the result of an autopsy by the State Medical Examiner.  A preliminary investigation into the incident did reveal that there were smoke detectors in the dwelling however, it is unclear if they were operable at the time of the fire. 

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Comments - Add Yours

  • TGM Omega

    6 minutes in and the same amount of fire (if not more) is showing without being darkened down in the least. What a JOKE.

  • TNCapt

    Well, one thing for sure the Cat that was walking around ( appeared to be a Chief officer) sure was not interested in using any of the hose streams. Can’t really judge from an aerial shot but there wasn’t a lot of water flowing and a serious lack of manpower or assistance.

  • Anonymous

    Thank god the grass had a good stream on it for protection…Putting out houses is DANGEROUS! Well done gentlemen…(sarcasm)

  • Anonymous

    In their defense, they had no water, the plug was dead. Then the sound of ammunition pushed them back for a minute or two.

    • Carl Burney

      Goes right along with my comment. Never trust a trailer park water system to give you an adequate supply, if any! The fire hydrants, if they even have any are usually also privately owned and rarely used/tested.

  • 95%er

    well this one won’t be on their greatest hits commemorative DVD collection.

  • Fire21

    At 1:10 what was the guy doing watering the driveway and grass? And at 2:00 he was watering the porch or something, not putting water on the fire. If the hydrant was dead, that complicates things, but if they’d gotten their tank water on the fire to begin with, I think they could have knocked that thing down. Just saying from experience with a LOT of mobile home fires. But as always, I’m sure there were things going on that we can’t see…….

    • Anonymous

      He was spraying the adjacent home, so the radiant heat did not cause that home to catch fire. Spraying the grass so it didn’t track. A garden hose wouldn’t put a dent in that fire at that point.

  • Sharppointy1

    An “aggressive attack”? I understand a little better after reading the story; in light of the Webster NY tragedy if I were a FF hearing ammunition cook off I’d be nervous. But still!
    I felt badly for the guys on the green and gray lines. They were trying desperately to do something to help their neighbor who is possibly a friend. How come the gray line had way more water then the fire fighting lines?
    A horrible tragedy; my heart goes out to the deceased’s wife. May his memory be for a blessing.

  • Not Surprised

    Absolutely Horrendous! I don’t care if there was ammo going off inside the house or not. There is a thing called “Exterior attack”, and it’s something Anna Arundel does “best.” You would think they would at least be proficient at it by now. And who was the “outstanding” Firefighter next to the engine who was watering the grass with his “attack” line?? No pressure? That’s fine, in case you aren’t aware, that costume you’re wearing that makes you look like a fireman, allows you to get up close to those flames. So maybe you should get a little closer to the house, instead of just watering the grass.

    P.S. I did like the neighbor having what appeared to be a slight “disagreement” with the “Firefighter” walking around the house in his fancy white gear.

  • Doing It.

    I’m glad I made the decision to quit AACOFD, they are a joke.


    That grass is going to look AWESOME come spring!!
    Not quite as positive an outlook for the home.
    Just a thought, if you’re going to use the “ammunition cooking off” excuse, go hide behind the engine, stop strolling around the immediate vicinity of that hazard. If the ammo is keeping you from attacking the fire, why isn’t it keeping you from walking around very near the structure??

  • Adam. F

    That was some of the worst firefighting I’ve ever seen. First of all, they drove past the length of hydrant hose and had to use an extension, the guy on the attack line is watering the lawn, and they never did charge the hydrant. Worst ever.

  • Anonymous

    A couple of months ago, the Maryland Gazette put out a story that insurance companies were not recognizing some stations in AA county due to lack of staffing. Maryland City is one of those stations that is only staffed with 2 and rely on volunteers. So with that being said, the closest staffed companies would be Jessup, Savage, Laurel and Odenton.

  • Capt 45-2

    I am not a gun expert and yes the sound or someone saying “rounds cooking off” would make me do a double take, but I thought the projectile needs a chamber and barrel to be pushed out of to gain kinetic energy??

    • Fire21

      Lots of people keep loaded guns WITH rounds in the chamber. When those “cook off”, they do so with deadly force, wherever they’re aimed at the moment. Odds of hitting someone are awfully slim, but a chance does exist.

  • really

    Wow, Short Crew and “Hydrant” problems. We never run short on excuses. That was some good nozzle work by the neighbor, even though the white coat told him to stop he managed to save his own house. I always love when cops and Fire Chiefs tell people to quit saving there own property and then when they stop it burns….2013 is off and running, still looking for firefighters


    Nearly as pathetic a firefighting operation as the Bluewater Blvd. disaster a few months ago. But, knowing AA Co., they had a command post, Division 1, Roof Division, Water Supply, etc. I once asked an old BC what he thought of the new command setups. His reply went like this: In the old days, any self-respecting Batt. Chief could burn down a two-story house in about 30 minutes. Now we have all sorts of command entities. Now it takes closer to an hour, but we still succeed in burning the place down.

  • Captain retired NJ


  • Chris

    There is a good safety video on fires and ammunition which was produced with the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute (SAAMI) in cooperation with the IAFC. They discuss the true hazards of ammunition in fires, and best of all its free. Here is the link:

    • FireGears

      THANK YOU, Chris.!!!!


      I’ll be sending this to 30+ FD-EMS Depts in our region.

      Ya made an impact, Brother.!!!
      (pun intended)

      WELL DONE.!!!

  • FIRE CHIEF retired

    what’s up with “FROSTY THE FIREMAN”?

  • Hate Yard Breathers

    Looks like the Fort Meade guys were ready to go to work.

  • Captain Obvious

    First let me say that the people in the video are not the AACoFD. They are the Maryland City Volunteers. Including the “chief” in the white gear. The career personnel, only two, were on a medical transport on the medic unit at that station. The career staffing at that station is inadequate, only two people who must jump between the medic unit and the engine depending on the call. Since it was the 2nd, these two volunteers just happened to be there when the call went out. Usually there would be no one form that station when the career personnel are on a medical call, as they were in this case. The “firefighter” who was there in the video spraying all the water on the ground, shouldn’t have been there. According to the county database, he is “NOT eligible to ride.”
    This is an example of why the insurance industry is raising the rates in Anne Arundel county. The career staffing is inadequate and the volunteer component, if it is even there to show up, is useless.

  • Career Guy AA

    Thank you Captain Obvious for your accurate and correct statements. Some times “Risk vs Benefit” plays a huge role in what we all do. Not sure of the reasons for some of the actions of these volunteers,I was not there, but training or re-training may be in order. No firefighters were injured or killed and thats a good day always. The tragic events in New York and the ambush killing of two firefighters Im sure are on every firefighters mind throughout the U.S. Be Safe and do what we are trained to do.Always be aware of your surroundings.