Despite injury, grandson helps grandfather escape fire

- With the help of his grandson, who was already recovering from broken ribs, a Vietnam veteran was able to escape a Bradenton house fire.

The fire happened Monday around 10 p.m. at a house on Useppa Drive.

The veteran, who is also a retired Sarasota police officer, is disabled and couldn't leave on his own, but his 15-year-old grandson helped him escape.

The grandson's mom, Brandi Bernius told FOX 13 she was proud of her son.

"My son... great kid," she said. "He got four broken ribs but went into action and got his grandpa out of the house."

One of the grandfather's hobbies includes collecting bullets. Officials said they learned guns and ammunition were being stored in a front room of the house, adding to the danger for fire crews and those nearby.

"The streets were crowded with people watching and them trying to keep everybody back, just in case," said Brandi Bernius.

 Burned bullets were found scattered in the front yard.

"He had ammunition, but it was all locked up everything was safe," said Bernius.

Video from a bystander showed flames shooting out of the roof. The dark street in front of the home was lit up from fire trucks, while firefighters with hoses attempted to drench the blaze.

"I told them you should be running away from it. That was live bullets just going every which way," said neighbor Earl Eleton.

Eleton lives across the street and found bullet casings on the road and other areas of the neighborhood.

"I found bullets up all over," he said.

Some neighbors were concerned about the ammo, but investigators said they have no reason to believe it was being stored improperly.

"As long as somebody is legally able to have those in their home then we are okay with that sure, sure we are concerned when it becomes a safety issue. Again if someone is legally able to have it they can," said Manatee Co. Sheriff's Office PIO Randy Warren.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Unfortunately, two dogs died as a result of the fire. Two more are being taken care of at a local animal hospital. 

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