Two injured in two-alarm house fire in San Jose


October 12, 2012 12:05:31 PM PDT
Fire crews in San Jose are watching for hot spots after an early-morning blaze Friday that became a lot more dangerous and frightening because of what was inside. Investigators still don't know what started the fire, but they know now what made it incredibly risky to fight.

"Fire communications received multiple calls of an explosion within the house fire," San Jose Fire Cpt. Reggie Williams said. Those calls came in just before 4 a.m. and when firefighters got on the scene, they kept their distance and evacuated the homes on either side of the fire, with good reason. "I spoke to the homeowner and what he said is, 'I have a lot of ammo. A lot is a lot," Williams said.

There were live rounds of ammunition inside a house on fire and burning out of control. "Basically, the shell casings become projectiles, not as if it was coming from a gun, but enough that it may injure you," Williams said.

Neighbors suspected something was up. "All of a sudden, every time you heard a whack and a whack, and you'd see streaks of fire just shooting out of the house straight up in the air. It was just constant. It was like a whip going off with a crack and it was just weird," Darin Winterton said.

The homeowners, a husband and wife, made it out on their own but not without getting hurt. "Burned on the hands and Rob got a pretty bad one on his head," said Sean Daley, the homeowner's brother-in-law. And, it's possible the couples' pets perished. "She thinks that the cats didn't get out so she's pretty beat up about that," Daley said. As for the ammo, Daley says his brother-in-law was an enthusiast who liked to go to the shooting range.

A neighbor who lives next door and was evacuated told ABC7 News that he woke to someone yelling, got his family out, and grabbed a garden hose, but had to move away because it got too hot. He ended up losing a shed and some motorcycles that were on the side of this house.