Guest Post: “How I Saved The City Of Reno From A Fire”


Below is a guest blog written by Randy Andrews of randyandrews.net. It describes a fun afternoon of shooting, which turned into a nightmare really quickly as stray sparks threatened to burn down the town. Chime in and tell us what you think about shooting at Tannerite, safety, etc. We’d like to hear your experiences and advice.

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At church a few Sundays ago, another member asked me if I wanted to go shooting with him that afternoon. He said we could mix up some Tannerite bombs (big explosion, no fire) and take them out somewhere on the outskirts of town and blow them up by shooting at them. Sounded awesome to me. So my wife and I went through the church day, came home, ate lunch and called our church friend.

We drove out to his house, where he showed us how to mix the Tannerite.

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Once we were done mixing it, we headed out in his truck to the outskirts of town. We found a nice little spot to shoot just down the road a ways from some other folks who were also shooting.

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We put the bottles up at range and got out the guns.

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Then our friend shot the first bottle of tannerite. He was a good shot. Then I borrowed his rifle and tried to use it myself.

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After 5 shots I gave up. The scope he had on that thing was just not working for me. I was about to switch over to using my Garand (iron sights FTW!) when our friend said he was going to take another shot. He did, the Tannerite went boom, and sparks flew EVERYWHERE!

Something caused an actual explosion. Our friend was hit in the chest by flying debris. The sparks set 4 bushes on fire. Reno has had a very dry winter, and if those bushes didn’t get put out fast there would be no telling how quickly the fire would spread, and how much of Reno it would take with it. Our friend started working on stomping out the bush that was the furtherest away. I went to the next closest one, and my wife started in on the one near the truck.

We each individually managed to put out our own bush. Then I saw a fire start off to my right. I yelled “Hey there’s another one!” and ran over to it. In the about 15-30 seconds it took me to get over to that bush it went from a small fire to the whole bush was burning. This bush was probably in between 3 and 4 feet tall when it started burning.

I tried to stomp it out and got it a little bit put out on one side, but it was quickly becoming clear I wasn’t going to be able to put this out by myself. I also inhaled quite a bit of smoke while I was trying to put it out. Luckily the people down the way from us saw what was happening and came over to help. My wife and our friend also managed to make it over to the bush. Finally we got it put out. There were some people who drove by and helped by giving us water and whatever other liquid they could to pour on the bushes to make sure they were good and out and were not going to start back up.

Here is a picture of the biggest bush after we were done putting it out.

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Here is the damage from one of the smaller bush fires.

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Oh and here is where someone loaned us their cooler water to dump on the big bush to make sure it was out.

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As you can probably guess there were no pictures of us actively fighting the fire since we were all a little busy during it.

Lessons learned during and after the event:

  • It is against the law to mix Tannerite and transport it.
  • It is extremely dangerous to mix Tannerite and transport it.
  • When going out in the middle of nowhere in the middle of a drought to shoot TAKE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER.
  • People who shoot are always willing to help one another out.

I’m sure there’s a few more lessons to be learned somewhere in here, but you get the idea.

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3 Responses to Guest Post: “How I Saved The City Of Reno From A Fire”

  1. JohnOC says:

    I’ve never seen Tannerite (brand) explosive targets make any kind of spark. I have seen other similar targets do so, and had them catch things on fire in ways that were almost that exciting. Thankfully we had both water and a fire extinguisher handy.

    • girlsloveguns says:

      I don’t know if the Tannerite was brand-name Tannerite or not. The hillside into which they were shooting was very rocky. Could hitting a rock cause sparks and fire?

  2. I’m glad you found it wasn’t legal to transport. That’s the first thing came to mind when I started reading you article. Fyi, that doesn’t look like name brand Tannerite. Your mixture is darker than what I’ve seen and pellets don’t seem as uniform. I’m sure there are lots of copies, some more or less sensitive than others. Keeping my limbs is important to me, so I’m willing to pay for brand name stuff.

    That stuff is a lot of fun, but do be careful. Make sure there isn’t any hard stuff (like rocks) in front of the tannerite, otherwise it will become shrapnel flying back at you.

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