NewsPolk County


Army veteran escapes burning home as ammunition goes off inside

Posted at 10:55 PM, Aug 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-01 23:20:26-04

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Winter Haven firefighters faced an unexpected danger Wednesday as rounds of ammunition fired off inside a burning home. 

The Winter Haven Fire Department responded at 1:24 p.m. to 64 Palm Lane Drive in the Cypress Shores Mobile Home Community. 

A disabled veteran, who carries an oxygen tank, managed to escape the fire but was transported to a local hospital for smoke inhalation. 

"I thought he was in there, I thought he might be sleeping, that's what I was worried about," said friend John Weiland. "That's why I come running across that field fast."

According to police, Edwin Stensel, 69, was cooking inside of his kitchen when the fire erupted. The retired Army veteran is recovering in a local hospital and expected to be OK. 

"I am praying for him, yes," said neighbor Patti Bradley. "He is a veteran... he should be able to get some help from them."

Bradley says police evacuated several homes on the block as rounds of ammunition went off inside Stensel's home. 

"Shells were going off, quite a bit, I mean it was just, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom." 

First responders heard the faint sounds of "meow" and soon rescued a group of newborn kittens, found in a storage shed near Stensel's carport. 

According to Winter Haven Police, nobody has indicated they knew the kittens were there nor if the mama cat was known to anyone in the area.