A Clay County sheriff’s deputy retreated to a safe distance from a van burning in a field Tuesday afternoon after he heard the sound of live ammunition going off inside it.
The deputy found the van burning near Old State Highway 210 and Bluff Road, south of Liberty, about 2:30 p.m., said Jon Bazzano, a spokesman for the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. The deputy had been in the middle of a traffic stop when he saw black smoke on the horizon and headed that way to investigate.
Eventually, the deputy found the owner of the vehicle watching the fire from a distance.
The deputy learned that the owner had been burning garbage in the field and accidentally let the fire get out of control. In an attempt to put the fire out, he drove his van back and forth over the flames.
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This made matters worse, as the tires of the van caught fire. Realizing that the van was loaded with firearms ammunition and a full tank of gas, the driver evacuated the area for safety.
A crew from the Liberty Fire Department responded to make sure the fire did not spread. It was unclear what type of ammunition the owner had in the vehicle.
The deputy did not immediately cite the owner, who declined to make a report for a possible insurance claim.
“It seems like he’s just going to have to take a loss on that vehicle because I don’t think they’re going to cover it,” Bazzano said.