NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A fiery explosion rocked a Connecticut town while police were negotiating with a man who had taken his wife hostage, leaving up to eight officers injured, officials said.
The officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the blast at a barn behind the couple’s North Haven home Wednesday night.
Deputy Police Chief Jonathan Mulhern would not comment when asked early Thursday if the suspect was in custody.
“This is still an active, ongoing scene,” he said. “This is not a stable scene at this point.”
First Selectman Michael Freda said the wife escaped before the explosion.
“This started late this afternoon with what was apparently a very violent domestic call,” Freda told WTIC-TV, adding that it led to a barricade situation and a SWAT team being called in. He said the police “were trying to coax him … out of the house and really try to calm the situation down. Then things took a turn for the worse with an explosion.”
Police were heard continuing to try to coax the man out of the house even after the explosion.
“It’s quite surprising,” Freda said. “This is a quiet residential neighborhood. It’s been a very emotional scene.”
Residents near the home said on the police department’s Facebook page that they heard the explosion and felt their own homes shake. Additional police rushed to the scene as the fire raged, and sounds of smaller explosions also were heard.
North Haven resident Joan Mazurek, 76, a retired accountant, heard what she thought was a train at her home about a mile away from the scene. It was the explosion.
“Then we heard all the, oh my God, all the ambulances and fire engines. The noise from all the emergency vehicles was unbelievable,” she said. “It’s a shock. Nothing ever happens like this in North Haven.”
The blaze was still burning early Thursday, said fire officials, adding that power was out to the area and a local firehouse had been set up as a “refuge” for affected residents.
State police said they were assisting North Haven police with the investigation. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded to the scene.
North Haven is located just outside of New Haven, home to Yale University.