Nine police officers injured in an explosion at North Haven during a hostage situation
A woman had been held hostage for days. When officers got to her home, a standoff with her estranged husband began and then the explosion occurred injuring the police officers.
According to reports, a barn on a Connecticut property exploded Wednesday night leaving at least eight police officers injured. A man had held his wife hostage in the same barn for several days before the explosion sparked a fire that spread to the couple's house.
The Hartford Courant reported that the woman in question managed to escape the Wallingford, Connecticut, house and dialed 911 around 2:30 p.m bringing authorities to her Quinnipiac Avenue home. The severely beaten wife called the authorities about six hours before the explosion occurred.
Early Thursday, the newspaper reported that the woman's medical condition was not immediately known. The husband's state, who may have been inside the barn when it exploded, is also yet to be known. Authorities said remains were found in the structure, but they have not identified the individual.
"This started late this afternoon with what was apparently a very violent domestic call,” North Haven First Selectman Michael Freda told FOX61. 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.”
The station reported that the officers were taken to the Yale New Haven Hospital. Although they sustained non-life-threatening injuries, their current conditions are yet to be known. Freda said that it was also yet to be revealed whether any children were in the home or the barn when the explosion occurred.
Reports further stated that when law enforcement arrived at the scene, neighbors heard them trying to coerce the man to come out.
“Over the course of a couple hours our officers were trying to coax the gentlemen out and defuse the situation,” Freda said. “Four to six of our officers were searching the back barn area when there was an explosion in the barn back there. Four were taken to hospital with abrasions and possible concussions.”
“Please come out the front door, we’re here to help you,” police called out. “If you do not come out immediately you will be subject to arrest. Come out, we want to help you, but you have to come out.”
Firefighters were being assisted by state police as they worked more than an hour to get the flames under control after the incident.
According to FOX61, smaller collateral explosions followed the first blast.
“I felt my house shake. It felt like a bomb went off in my attic,” David DiMartino, who lives nearby, told the New Haven Register.
Neighbor John Marotto said immediately after the blast, “I heard them screaming. They got blown away, back from the garage. I saw a fireball come off the back of the garage, and then the roof was gone. The side facing our house was totally gone. It was unbelievable — the noise, unbelievable. I thought I was in a war zone.”
Fire officials said that the house was still burning early Thursday morning, and they also added that a local firehouse had been set up as a "refuge" for affected residents as the power was out in the area. The Hartford Courant reported that authorities suspect the property's barn was previously "rigged to explode."
“It sounds almost like it was a booby trap type of explosion,” Freda said. “Based on the way the explosions took place, from what police told me, there was a series of explosions, which may indicate some sort of rigged booby traps."
76-year-old Joan Mazurek, a retired accountant staying in North Haven thought a train was approaching her house about a mile away from the scene, giving reporters an idea of the magnitude of 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.”
Another neighbor, Antony Laudano, said the explosion was so huge that it broke plates in his kitchen, knocked pictures off the walls and even shattered a window. “I honestly thought it was an airplane crashing, it was so loud,” Laudano said. “I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 20 years. This is the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced. I mean, this is a quiet neighborhood.”
North Haven is located about 27 miles south of Hartford, just outside New Haven.