Ammunition goes off as crews battle mobile home fire

- It was an intense 20 minutes of firefighting for a crew in Polk County Wednesday as ammunition inside a burning mobile home fired off under the heat of the flames.

The Winter Haven Fire Department says the disabled veteran living in the home, as well as a box of stray kittens near the carport, managed to make it out alive.

Winter Haven fire crews responded to the fire in the Cypress Shores Mobile Home Community, just off Highway 92, around 1:30 p.m.

When firefighters arrived, flames were coming from the front and sides of the mobile home and firefighters could hear rounds of ammunition firing off from inside the structure.

The heat was starting to melt a neighboring home's siding and carport and, adding to the dangers were two liquefied petroleum gas tanks outside. Firefighters were able to keep those from exploding. 

Firefighters say 69-year-old Edwin Stensel was cooking when the fire started. Stensel was able to get out before the fire intensified.

The retired veteran suffered smoke inhalation and was taken to the hospital. His condition was unavailable.

Amid the sounds of exploding ammunition and the raging fire, crew members also heard meowing, which led them to a shed near the carport. Inside they found a box of baby kittens. As of Wednesday evening, the mother cat - believed to be a stray - had not been located.

Polk County Animal Control was taking care of the baby kitties.

Seven fire units along with water tankers from the Auburndale and Lake Alfred Fire Departments were able to get it under control in about 20 minutes.

Winter Haven Fire says one firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion at the scene.

There were no injuries to other residents in the mobile home park and no other structures were damaged.

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