A standoff with a man who police say had taken his estranged wife hostage culminated in a massive fire Wednesday night, as a barn on the couple’s North Haven, Connecticut, property exploded.
An unidentified body was found on the property early Thursday morning after emergency responders extinguished the blaze, the Connecticut State Police said in a statement.
Nine officers were injured in the blast, none of them seriously, state police said. The injured officers were sent to Yale-New Haven Hospital for treatment. The scene remains active as of Thursday afternoon.
Law enforcement were alerted to a domestic violence situation on Wednesday around 2:00 p.m. local time, police said, after the wife of the suspect escaped from the home, ran to a neighbor’s house and dialed 911, according to the Hartford Courant. She told them her husband had been holding her hostage for several days, although reports vary on the exact length of time.
The woman and her husband, who authorities have not named, have been going through a divorce, the Courant reported. The woman had reportedly been severely beaten and was taken for treatment at a hospital. Her current condition is unknown.
State police detectives from the Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit and Central District Major Crime attempted to make contact with the man Wednesday and coax him out of the home where, with his wife gone, he had barricaded himself.
After several hours, as law enforcement attempted to enter the residence, the barn exploded with a force that neighbors say rocked their homes.
“North Haven shook. I mean everyone heard it,” neighbor Nancy Sundwall told the New Haven Register. “The whole sky turned pitch black with smoke.”
The Connecticut State Police Bomb Squad and New Haven Police Department Bomb Squad have responded to assist with the investigation. Unconfirmed reports suggest the suspect may have deliberately set up explosives on the property.
The structure burned through Wednesday night into Thursday morning as emergency responders from several communities worked to contain it. Flames from the barn spread to other nearby structures, authorities said, although they could not confirm who owned them.
A coroner will conduct a postmortem to determine the identity of the deceased and the manner of death.
North Haven is a generally quiet community north of New Haven, Connecticut, and about five miles from the Yale University campus.
As of Thursday afternoon, the status of the suspect and his location at the time of the explosion were unclear. Whether the barn explosion was intentional or accidental is also not yet known.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.