Ammo Plant Explosion in Ottawa - Chicagoland Sportbikes
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-08-2012, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Ammo Plant Explosion in Ottawa

Does anyone remember this, or have more info. This article sucks. From what I remember, it was sloppy reloading practices that blew the place up. But I was just a wee lad back then and it was 3rd hand info.

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Ammunition Explosion Kills 4 At Illinois Plant
October 08, 1988|By Jerry Crimmins.


Four people were killed Friday by an explosion and fire that destroyed a small ammunition factory and warehouse complex in rural La Salle County west of Ottawa.

``Ammunition was flying all over the place`` as about 120 firefighters fought the blaze at the Buffalo Rock Shooters Supply, said Fire Chief Vincent Dettore of Naplate, the nearest town.

Dettore said the site had ``millions, probably 30 million bullets total. . . . You could probably hear gunshots for four hours, simultaneously a million at a crack.``

The cause was undetermined, but investigators suspect a spark may have ignited gunpowder used to make bullets.

Three buildings were leveled and every surface was pockmarked with bullet holes, he said. No firefighters were injured, although he said they approached to within 50 to 75 feet of the fire to spray it with water from tank trucks.

Four bodies were recovered, and a forensic dentist was called in to identify them, said Jody Bernard, secretary to Coroner Marion Osborne.

Dettore said the owner of the company, who was identified as Roger

``Sparky`` Fullmer, was unaccounted for after the accident. Additional possible victims included Fullmer`s stepdaughter, who worked at the business, and two other employees.

Fullmer`s wife, Elsbeth, who was in the couple`s nearby house, was taken to the Community Hospital of Ottawa, where she was treated for apparent shock and released.

The fire chief said Buffalo Rock Shooters Supply made bullets for law enforcement officers in at least five counties. Ottawa is about 70 miles southwest of Chicago.

Dettore said the main building had been full of cases of bullets

``stacked one on top of the other 10 to 15 feet high.``

He said the explosion occurred in a metal building, the largest of three buildings, at about 11:15 a.m. Two underground bunkers nearby containing black powder did not explode, he said.

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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-08-2012, 03:26 PM
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"Sparky" did it obviously...what else do you need to know?
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-08-2012, 03:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kruz View Post
"Sparky" did it obviously...what else do you need to know?
yeah, they love to quote his name. It's helping me find other articles on the subject.

I've always wondered what happened there, so I'm going to keep digging on it. I've got a call in to ATF as well to see what they have in their records.

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Plant Where Blasts Killed 4 Had History Of Fires
October 09, 1988|By Jerry Crimmins.
The explosions and fire that destroyed a small ammunition factory and gun club in rural La Salle County west of Ottawa, killing four people, marked at least the third time in recent years that a serious fire occurred on the property, a fire chief said.

Friday`s series of explosions and giant fireballs, mixed with the popping of ``millions`` of bullets going off over four hours, leveled the three-building Buffalo Rock Shooters Supply complex, said Chief Vincent Dettore of the Fire Department in Naplate, the nearest town.

A previous fire at the same factory and gun club ``destroyed the whole thing`` in the 1970s but injured no one, Dettore said.

This time, it was feared that the owner of the complex, Roger ``Sparky``

Fullmer, and his step-daughter who worked with him were among the four victims carried from the rubble. The chief said the other two victims were also believed to be workers, but he didn`t know their identities.

The most recent fire occurred in 1986 when Fullmer`s house, located about 200 feet from the factory and storage buildings, caught fire.

In that blaze, Dettore said, the roof of the house, a corn crib and eight or nine vehicles, including trucks and dune buggies, burned.

The cause of the 1986 fire appeared to be old and worn electrical connections among the buildings, he said.

Dettore said the cause of Friday`s initial explosion was unknown. He speculated that gunpowder dust in the air of the main metal building might have been ignited by a spark from a motor.

Dettore said the first blast erupted at about 11:15 a.m. in the main building, 50 by 60 feet with metal walls, where the workers were.

Firefighters were forced to pull back at about 12:30 p.m. after someone said two smaller buildings, both wood, only a few feet from the main building contained black powder, Dettore said.

Firefighters moved in again when they discovered the black powder was in underground bunkers that were not affected, the chief said.

Dettore said millions of bullets detonated into the walls, the ground, the debris, and the air while firefighters battled the blaze. He said the same thing happened during the fire that destroyed the complex in the 1970s.

Dettore said no firefighters were struck by flying bullets at either fire, but the fallen walls were full of bullet holes.

Asked how it was possible to fight fire while bullets were exploding, Dettore said, ``It`s not as dangerous as if it was shot out of a gun itself. . . . You just get in there and grit your teeth and hope nothing happens.``

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