A detached garage caught fire and threatened a nearby home in Battle Ground on Tuesday morning.
Emergency responders were dispatched at 7:33 a.m. to the 8500 block of Northeast 199th Street for a report of a residential fire.
A dispatcher told firefighters en route to the address that a caller reported vehicles had been removed from the garage, and there was “ammo inside that could explode,” according to emergency radio traffic monitored at The Columbian. The dispatcher clarified that a resident reported there were at least 20 “shells” in the garage, which they could hear popping.
Clark County Fire & Rescue Chief John Nohr said loose ammo is less of a concern than rounds loaded into a firearm. Heat causes loaded guns to discharge if exposed to a fire while that same energy simply evaporates when unloaded ammo is exposed to intense temperatures, he said. The loose bullets may bounce a few feet, but they aren’t going to veer off with force.
“It’s not uncommon for people to tell us they have ammo in the home,” Nohr said. “As long as it’s not in the barrel of a weapon, it’s not as big of an issue. The crew could hear them going off when they first arrived.”
The garage was about 15 feet from a home, so it was at risk of also catching fire, according to an agency news release. There were four people inside the residence, according to the scanner.
When the first fire engine arrived, firefighters found the garage engulfed in flames.
“Initial action by the first arriving crew focused on protecting the house from catching fire. Once additional crews arrived, efforts were turned toward extinguishing the garage fire,” the news release said.
Water tenders were requested for additional water supply due to the home’s location between two distant fire hydrants, the fire department said.
Law enforcement was called to the scene to shut down Northeast 199th Street, according to the scanner.
No one was injured or displaced.
A total of four engines, two water tenders, four chief officers and one fire inspector responded to the scene. Clark County fire districts 3 and 6 helped extinguish the blaze.
The cause of the fire hasn’t been determined. The Clark County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating.