CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Virginia police investigate explosion at house where officers were trying to serve a search warrant

Dec 4, 2023, 9:27 PM

Police in a Virginia suburb of the nation’s capital are investigating a massive explosion at a ho...

Police in a Virginia suburb of the nation’s capital are investigating a massive explosion at a house where police were investigating.(Alex Wilson)

(Alex Wilson)

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — Police in a Virginia suburb of the nation’s capital are investigating a massive explosion at a house where police were investigating reports of shots fired and attempted to serve a search warrant Monday.

Some officers received minor injuries in the explosion, but no one was transported to the hospital, said Arlington County police spokesperson Ashley Savage. No fatalities have yet been confirmed and the status of the suspect, who was in the home when it exploded, is not known, she said.

The incident began at about 4:45 p.m. when police responded to reports of shots fired, which they later determined came from a flare gun, Savage said. While police investigated, they obtained a search warrant for the home, Savage said.

When police attempted to execute the warrant several hours after they initially responded, the suspect fired several rounds inside the home, police said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. It was then that the house — a duplex — exploded and burst into flames shortly before 8:30 p.m.

Savage said it is unclear whether the rounds were fired from a flare gun or a different firearm.

Savage said police don’t have any evidence that others were in the duplex, but can’t yet rule that out at this early phase in the investigation.

Arlington is located across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. The explosion took place in Bluemont, a suburban neighborhood in north Arlington where many of the homes are duplexes that house two families.

A massive boom was heard in the area just after 8:20 p.m. Power was knocked out in the immediate area and flames could be seen shooting in the air from a nearby street. Stretchers were also seen near the house.

Carla Rodriguez of South Arlington said she could hear the explosion more than 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) away and came to scene, which was roped off blocks away, to see what was happening.

“I actually thought a plane exploded,” she said.

Fire officials do not know the cause of the explosion, said Capt. Nate Hiner, a spokesperson for the Arlington Fire Department. Firefighters were still battling the blaze at 10:15 p.m.

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

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Virginia police investigate explosion at house where officers were trying to serve a search warrant