Exploding Ammo, Collapsing Floor Made Fatal Fire Difficult to Fight

Exploding ammunition and collapsing floors made a deadly house fire a difficult one to fight for firefighters in Prince George's County.

When crews arrived at the home in the 6400 block of Grendel Place in Bowie around 10 p.m. Wednesday, they found flames shooting from the roof.

"Unbelievable, just flames. It made your heart just...it was crazy. I've never seen anything like it," said Muriel Caldwell, who lives just down the street from the heavily damaged home.

All floors of the home were involved in the fire. While battling the blaze, firefighters had to leave the home due to a floor collapse, but one occupant was unaccounted for.

A short time later, ammunition stored in the home began to explode in rapid succession.

"Sounded almost like gunfire, just one after another for a little while," one neighbor said.

Rose Jollah and her family heard the ammunition go off, but they didn't know what it was.

"That's very dangerous. We have a lot of kids, animals. Our neighborhood is very friendly," Jollah said.

Firefighters fought the fire from the outside, and when they were able to get back inside, they found one of the residents, 65-year-old John Collins Raymond, dead on the second floor.


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The entire left side of the home was destroyed in the fire, leaving only the frame standing.

There's no word yet on the cause of the fire.

Lucy Terezo, who lives next door, said Raymond kept to himself.

"Although he was a loner, he was a very nice man. I'm really sad this happened. I mean, he's been here for 20 years," Lucy Terezo said.

Firefighters will return to the neighborhood Friday to make sure everyone on the street has a working smoke detector.

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