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Van engulfed by flames and smoke along Washington Street

Brainerd firefighters extinguished a van fire Tuesday that was parked at Maximum1 / 2
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A van that was fully engulfed in flames and black smoke Wednesday caused a short delay in late morning traffic along Washington Street in Brainerd.

The van, owned by Don Hansell of Pequot Lakes,  was parked at Maximum Motorsports when it caught on fire. Hansell, who sadly watched his van being destroyed by fire, said he was talking with someone in the business when a “guy came running into the store and said the van was on fire.”

The fire call came in at 11:06 a.m. Brainerd Fire Chief Kevin Stunek was first on the scene and said the van was fully engulfed. Stunek said the black smoke was from all the plastic in the van.

While nearly a dozen firefighters extinguished the fire, people standing by heard a series of popping noises from the van. Stunek said the popping noise came from 100 rounds of ammunition from a .45 caliber that was in the van. Stunek said the ammunition exploded from the heat. When asked if the ammunition could have caused any injuries, he said it generally has no projectile in it to cause an injury. 

No one was injured from the van fire.

Stunek said the van was a total loss and the building suffered damage to the front of the business.

Traffic traveling west along Washington Street near Maximum Motorsports had to slow down to one lane to get around the emergency personnel and the fire truck.

Hansell said his van was full of his western art work that he created over the winter and now it was all gone. Hansell said he also had to find a way home.

Brainerd Police Department and North Ambulance assisted at the scene.