Firefighters duck for cover
Burning trailers reportedly filled with live ammunition
HAMMONDSVILLE — A group of firefighters took refuge behind an old discarded refrigerator when ammunition inside three mobile homes exploded during a fire Friday night.
Highlandtown Fire Chief Matt Greaves said the three single-wide trailers at 39916 Hazel Run Road are owned by Don Voss, a former county militia leader.
Greaves said the cause of the fire is still under investigation. He added that it is unknown exactly how much ammunition was inside each of the trailers, although firefighters estimated it was quite a bit.
A county sheriff’s deputy also responded to the scene due to concerns about the ammunition.
Greaves said Voss lived alone and was not injured and that no firefighters were injured either. There were no animals on the property.
He also said that all three trailers were fully engulfed when firefighters arrived. Firefighters battled the blazes from a distance in the beginning as the ammunition exploded, and later got close enough to extinguish the fires by working on exterior attacks.
The trailers were located on property owned by Jeff Gogh and were situated relatively close to each another.
All three of the trailers were destroyed by the fire, as were other items and debris scattered about the Washington Township property. The township does not have zoning.
Greaves said Voss did not have insurance on the trailers, but did have insurance on the contents.
In addition to Highlandtown, firefighters from Salineville and Wellsville also responded as part of the automatic mutual aid agreement, and tanker trucks were also requested from the West Point and Franklin Township departments.
Greaves said crews were unable to get tanker trucks to the trailers, which were located down a hill several hundred feet off Hazel Run Road.
Crews ran waterlines from the trucks down the hill to the fire, and water was replenished through use of a drop tank. Tanker engines were refilled at a location in Highlandtown.
American Electric Power was notified, since power was shut off to the trailers. Lifeteam EMS also responded.