A fire at Precision Cycle Works of Beltsville, Md., did $1 million damage and scattered firefighters who responded to the single-story brick, middle-of-the-row, commercial warehouse.
Firefighters dispatched on reports of an explosion April 8 arrived to find heavy smoke pouring from the roof area at the rear of the building. They entered with charged hoselines, but then learned there was “a quantity of handgun ammunition and re-loading supplies in the area where the initial explosion occurred,” according to the Prince George’s County Fire Department.
“There were rapid and continuous sounds of the ammunition discharging and larger sounds of explosions with percussions felt by everyone inside or near the structure,” according to a department press release. “A 360 exterior examination of the structure revealed bulging of the front garage door and rear wall, as well as, the roof assembly displayed signs that it had shifted. All of these observations indicated that a significant explosion had occurred.”
Heavy, blinding smoke on the interior and a maze of walls and obstacles forced firefighters to retreat.
It took more than 80 firefighters about an hour and a half to knock down the blaze using ladder trucks and other equipment. Safety considerations prevented firefighters from immediately going back in to look for hot spots. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
The management of Precision Cycle is an ATF-licensed federal firearm dealer and “had a significant amount of ammunition and firearms in a secured area in the rear of the shop.” He is cooperating with investigators, the department says.
No injuries were reported.
Posted by Holly Wagner