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Virginia home leveled by an explosion as officers tried to serve a search warrant

APTOPIX House Explosion Virginia
House Explosion Virginia
Posted at 7:05 AM, Dec 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-05 07:05:20-05

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — A massive explosion at a duplex where police were investigating reports of shots fired shook a Washington, D.C, suburb Monday and destroyed the home.

All officers escaped serious injury but it was unclear what happened to the suspect who was inside the home when it was leveled by the explosion, Arlington County, Virginia, police spokesperson Ashley Savage said.

Officers went to the home at about 4:45 p.m. after receiving reports of shots fired. They later determined the shots came from a flare gun, Savage said. While police investigated, they obtained a search warrant for the home.

When police later attempted to execute the warrant the suspect fired several rounds inside the home and the explosion occurred just before 8:30 p.m., shooting flames and debris into the air police said.

Savage said it was unclear whether the rounds were fired from a flare gun or a firearm. Police don't have any evidence that others were in the duplex but can't rule out the possibility, she said.

Carla Rodriguez of South Arlington said she could hear the explosion more than 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) away and came to the scene but police kept onlookers blocks away.

"I actually thought a plane exploded," she said.

Bob Maynes thought maybe a tree had fallen on his house when he heard the explosion.

"I was sitting in my living room watching television and the whole house shook," Maynes said. "It wasn't an earthquake kind of tremor, but the whole house shook."

Arlington is located across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. The explosion occurred in Bluemont, a neighborhood in north Arlington where many of the homes are duplexes.

Fire officials do not know the cause of the explosion, said Capt. Nate Hiner, a spokesperson for the Arlington Fire Department.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said federal agents and federal fire investigators were at the scene and assisting in the investigation.