Cause unknown in Niederwald ammunition fire

No one was hurt after fire swept through a Niederwald-area ammunition manufacturing company early Sunday, setting off rounds for the better part of two hours.

Clint Browning, Hays County Fire Marhsal, said a cause of the blaze has not yet been determined and remains under investigation.

Browning said Hays County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Parabellum Research, located in the 300 block of Millennium Drive, to respond to a burglar alarm. Before the deputies arrived on scene, they saw the facility was on fire, leading to the dispatch of the Chisholm Trail Fire Rescue at 2:17 a.m. Providing mutual aid assistance was the Buda FIre Department, as well as Caldwell County and Travis County emergency services.

Browning said part of the facility was “heavily involved” when firefighters arrived and that the front roll-up door had collapsed. Fire crews also reported fire was visible through the door. Browning said the office of the facility suffered smoke damage but was not seriously impacted.

However, emergency officials could not initially contain the fire as live ammunition rounds were going off. It wasn’t until 4:44 am. Sunday when the fire was controlled, Bronwing said. No evacuations were conducted as no business or residences were near the facility.

But the pops and rumblings were enough to shake awake nearby resident. Art Braud said he heard at least two or three explosions that “rocked me off balance.” Braud woke up at around 2:20 a.m. Sunday due to the commotion.

Braud said he had heard gunshots at the facility before, assuming people test-fired ammunition at the facility.

“It was concerning,” Braud said. “I’m glad it wasn’t any worse that what it was.”

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