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NW Marion gunsmith burned, home destroyed after workshop blast
By:Austin L. Miller.
Published: Thursday, August 6, 2015 at 4:39 p.m. Last Modified: Thursday, August 6, 2015 at 4:39 p.m.
A northwest Marion County gunsmith was badly burned and his home destroyed by fire following an explosion in his garage workshop early Thursday afternoon.
Roderick Dahl, of 19745 NW 123rd Court, was taken by ambulance to UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville. Allyson Cleveland, who lives in a separate home on the property, said Dahl told her he was welding something when the tank blew up.
Cleveland, who works at night in a pet emergency unit at the University of Florida, was awakened by a loud boom, she said. It wasn't unusual to hear a blast because Dahl, a federally licensed firearms dealer and gunsmith, would sometimes discharge weapons.
Within seconds of hearing the boom, Cleveland went outside. At first, she said, she did not see Dahl. Then she saw him running from the garage.
He had no shirt on. She said he was burned on the tip of his nose, his elbows and his back. Cleveland said Dahl told her to get away and shooed the four dogs away from the area.
She went inside her home to call 911, Cleveland said. By then the garage was up in flames, and she could hear popping sounds as ammunition exploded.
Cleveland, who was holding the leash of a black shepherd-mix named Blackie, said there were three horses and four dogs on the property. None were injured.
She said three of the dogs took off in different directions and were missing: Rufus, a rottweiler mix; Jet, a boxer; and Rocky, a pit-bull mix.
Marion County Fire Rescue spokesman James Lucas said the county got the call at 1:34 p.m. The first unit arrived at 1:51 p.m.
The main house — a three-bedroom wood-frame home with a metal roof — was "90 percent involved" when firefighters got there, he said. The fire was under control at 2:10 p.m.
The garage and main house were a total loss.
The State Fire Marshal's Office and Marion County Sheriff's Office are jointly investigating the fire. As of late Thursday afternoon, MCSO officials said it appears to be an accident.
Officials from both agencies plan to visit the victim at Shands to try and talk with him.