1 body found after 9 officers hurt in explosion at standoff

Dave Collins
Associated Press

NORTH HAVEN, Conn. – A body was found in a Connecticut building after an explosion during a standoff with a man whose wife had called police to report domestic violence, officials said Thursday.

This image provided by WFSB-TV shows a fire behind a house in North Haven, Conn., Wednesday, May 2, 2018. A barn behind a house in Connecticut exploded Wednesday night while police and a SWAT team were negotiating with a man who had taken his wife hostage, leaving at least six officers injured, state police and a town official said. (WFSB-TV via AP)

State Police Trooper Kelly Grant said nine officers were being treated for non-life-threatening injuries after the Wednesday night blast and the remains of one unidentified person was found in a building at the home in North Haven Thursday morning.

Grant said an autopsy was scheduled to confirm the identity of the body, but that no one was in custody.

North Haven Deputy Police Chief Jonathan Mulhern said a woman called police to report domestic violence before the explosion at a barn behind the home Wednesday night. He said the woman was not at the scene when first responders arrived, and there was no hostage situation.

Officials said police tried for hours to coax the man outside, including talking to him with a bullhorn.

First Selectman Michael Freda told WTIC-TV Wednesday night that police were trying to coax the man out of the house and “calm the situation down.”

“Then things took a turn for the worse with an explosion,” he said.

All nine officers remained hospitalized Thursday. They were members of the regional tactical team, and included five from East Haven, three from North Haven, and one from Branford.

Emergency personnel respond to Quinnipiac Avenue in North Haven, Conn., at the scene of explosion and reported stand-off Wednesday evening, May 2, 2018. A barn behind a house in Connecticut exploded Wednesday night while police and a SWAT team were negotiating with a man who had taken his wife and family hostage, leaving several officers injured, officials said. (Catherine Avalone/New Haven Register via AP)

“They all did suffer injuries that were consistent with the blast,” Mulhern said. “This impacted not only the North Haven Police Department, not only our community, but this is a far reaching incident to the other communities that serve the south central region.”

Firefighters on Thursday continued to battle the barn fire that also damaged other structures and vehicles.

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.

Police were heard continuing to try to coax the man out of the house even after the explosion on Wednesday night.

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.”

State police said they had taken over 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.