Bullets explode inside car fire on Pine Ridge Road

Pine Hill firefighters had to fight a car fire the morning of September 15th while ammunition inside the car was exploding. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
Pine Hill firefighters had to fight a car fire the morning of September 15th while ammunition inside the car was exploding. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

CHEEKTOWAGA – Pine Hill firefighters had to fight a car fire on Saturday morning while bullets inside the car were exploding.

The fire was on Pine Ridge Road near the entrance to St. Stanislaus Cemetery.

The initial radio call for the car fire was benign until Public Safety Dispatchers found out from bystanders on the scene that the owner of the car had a gun and ammunition inside the vehicle.

“It’s definitely an interstring call to have a gun in a car fire,” said Pine Hill Assistant Fire Chief Leonard Luh.  “We kept the guys far enough back because we didn’t know the location of the gun until the owner showed up.  He later told us it was in the driver’s side door.”

As the blaze in the Land Rover raged on, a handful of explosions were heard from Cheektowaga Chronicle’s vantage point about a football field away.  Law enforcement and firefighters tell us they heard around four or five rounds explode.  The car fire itself also caused small explosions.

“You’re going to get pops from things in the motor, the door hinge, the tailgate, the tires pop,” Mr. Luh added.  “Initially, when the first truck got here they heard a couple of bullets going off.”

A Cheektowaga Police officer makes sure a gun is fully discharged after it was found in a burned-out vehicle on September 15th. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
A Cheektowaga Police officer makes sure a gun is fully discharged after it was found in a burned-out vehicle on September 15th. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

Firefighters had a tough time extinguishing the fire because one, they had to stay back around 100 feet from the vehicle and two, water just causes the fire to grow.

“A lot of the newer foreign cars have magnesium blocks on the motor, and we had to use a special extinguisher.  It’s called “Class D” and its used on metal because water won’t put out those fires,” he said.

Once the special foam was added to the flow of water the fire was brought under control.

A law enforcement source tells Cheektowaga Chronicle that the handgun inside the vehicle was a .45 caliber handgun.  It was legally owned and properly permitted according to our source.

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