A house fire in Tampa drew the attention of neighbors, but not for the reason you'd think. According to local news accounts, the emergency sounded more like someone's New Year's Eve fireworks display had set off a day early. In actuality, the popcorn sounds emanating from the scene of the fire were actually thousands of rounds of ammunition exploding as fire engulfed the Florida home.
"It just popped over, over our fence," neighbor John Alba told Tampa Bay's local Fox affiliate. "He supposedly had thousands of rounds of ammunition and we have different calibers," he said, referring to his neighbor James Harris.
Harris reportedly set his home ablaze before retreating to the backyard to kill himself. MyFox Tampa Bay reports:
Just 24 hours later the charred remains of his home wasn't the only thing that was left behind by the fire. Neighbors say they found shell casings in the aftermath of what could have been a much more deadly fire.
"We were just fortunate that nothing happened to our kids," said Alba, who spent part of the day picking up shell casings on his property right next door.
"Because of my children, making sure they don't run out there and cut their feet as you can tell it's pretty sharp," said Alba.
Bruce Heyward lives a few doors down from where the fire started. He says he heard a "big bang."
"You heard a major explosion and then what sounded like ammo going off for almost a half hour," said Heyward.
No one else was hurt as a result of the fire, including firefighters, who eyewitnesses say were using extreme caution.
"I noticed firemen that were going to the ground, falling to the ground because there was popping and they didn't know what was coming their way," said Alba.
Friday, with the smell of smoke still in the air, John Alba is thankful his family will ring in the New Year together.
"It could have been worse, it could have been more tragic than it was."