Saturday, March 2

House explosion rocks Virginia neighborhood as police try to serve search warrant

A massive explosion engulfed a home and rocked a neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia, as police were investigating a man who fired a flare gun dozens of times from inside Monday night, police said.

No serious injuries were suffered by police, though the fate of the suspect who was inside the home when it exploded was not immediately clear, authorities said.

Video posted to social media showed a huge fireball and what appeared to be the roof and other debris lofted into the air during the blast, which neighbors said could be heard and felt for miles around in the Washington, D.C., suburb.

Shots fired and then an explosion

Neighbors reported possible shots fired around 4:45 p.m., and police officers determined someone had fired a flare gun, Arlington County police spokesperson Ashley Savage told reporters.

After 8 p.m., as officers were trying to conduct a search warrant at the house, “the suspect inside the residence discharged several rounds,” Savage said.

“The house subsequently exploded,” she said. The fire was under control by around 10:40 p.m., the fire department said, but spot fires were being addressed.

Officials have not been able to go into the home and could not confirm whether there were any deaths. The suspect was inside when the explosion occurred, Savage said.

“At this point, we’re only aware of one individual who was inside the home,” Savage said.

The person had fired the flare gun around 30 to 40 times “from inside his residence into the surrounding neighborhood,” police said in a statement early Tuesday.

The rounds fired inside the home while police were there, and before the explosion, are believed to have been from a firearm, police said. The blast happened at around 8:25 p.m., the department said.

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Officers had been trying to make contact with the person and carry out the search warrant when the shots and the explosion occurred, she said.

The identity of the person involved in the case was not released. The circumstances of the explosion were under investigation, Savage said.

Carla Rodriguez of South Arlington came to the scene after hearing the blast more than 2 miles away, but was kept away by police.

“I actually thought a plane exploded,” she told the Associated Press.

One local man, Bob Maynes, thought a tree had fallen on his house as the blast shook his property.

“I was sitting in my living room watching television and the whole house shook,” Maynes told the Associated Press. “It wasn’t an earthquake kind of tremor, but the whole house shook.”

U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said on X that the incident was “very, very scary” and thanked first responders for their work.

Police officers reported minor injuries, county police said. The police department said no one had been taken to a hospital.

The FBI in Washington was assisting in the investigation, a spokesperson for the agency’s field office there said. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also said it had fire investigators at the scene ready to assist.

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