Firefighters battle 20-foot flames after truck carrying ammunition on its way to Fleet Farm catches fire in Portage County

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LANARK – In another blow to an already dwindling supply chain, a semitrailer carrying ammunition for Fleet Farm caught fire Tuesday night in Portage County.

Firefighters battled 20-foot flames after responding about 6 p.m. to the east lanes of U.S. 10 near the border of Portage and Waupaca counties, according to Amherst Fire District Chief Victor Voss.

Voss said flames were more than 20 feet high when firefighters arrived, and there was about a pallet of ammunition in the trailer. He said the explosions sounded like firecrackers.

“It’s not like a projectile fired out of a gun, it’s more like shrapnel,” Voss said. “The casing explodes, and pieces fly in different directions.”

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Fire crews with protective gear used more than 19,000 gallons of water to extinguish the blaze. Voss said the semitrailer collapsed, so they had to use a backhoe to get into the trailer and extinguish the flames inside.

Voss said the semi was a delivery truck for Fleet Farm. It was carrying everything from bird seed to ammunition.

The accident occurred as gun store workers and hunters said it has been the most difficult year to find ammo in more than a decade. They said the shortage is a result of several factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain issues with manufacturers, new gun ownership, panic buying and hoarding, and political messaging.

He said no one was injured, but the trailer and its contents were a total loss. He did not have a dollar amount for the damage estimate.

“Fortunately no one got hurt, and everything can be replaced,” he said.

Contact Jake Prinsen at jprinsen@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @PrinsenJake.

This article originally appeared on Stevens Point Journal: Wisconsin ammunition shortage: Semi catches fire in Portage County

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