A house in Arlington, Virginia, exploded Monday night only minutes after police posted on social media about a suspect setting off a flare gun inside a home.
Around 4:45 p.m., Arlington County police responded to the 800 block of North Burlington Street for reports of shots heard. In their initial investigation, officers determined from nearby residents that a suspect discharged a flare gun 30 to 40 times from inside his home into the neighborhood, according to police in a statement released early Tuesday.
“During the course of that investigation, officers obtained a search warrant for the residence as officers attempted to execute that search warrant this evening. The suspect inside the residence discharged several rounds. The house subsequently exploded,” said Arlington County Police public information officer Ashley Savage.
The search warrant was issued in relation to reports of the flare gun, though it is not known if the suspect also had a firearm that was fired at officers when they entered the house.
Warning: The video below contains explicit language. This video was taken by Arlington resident Alex Wilson.
— c “” maj (@connormaj) December 5, 2023
Nearby residents took to social media to share they had heard the loud explosion around 8:30 p.m. Later, county police confirmed in a post that as officers entered the house, the suspect discharged several rounds inside the home before the explosion occurred.
WTOP’s Dick Uliano, who was on the scene of the aftermath of the explosion, described the smell of the area as “acrid” and saw “smoldering ruins” littering the street.
“The individual inside the home remains unaccounted for,” Uliano said.
Savage said police don’t have any evidence that others were in the duplex, but can’t rule that out in this early phase in their investigation.
The suspect’s identity was not revealed.
Arlington Fire & EMS posted on X that their units were on the scene of a “structure fire” at the same address, and to expect a large police and fire response. Hours later, they said the remaining fire was under control.
A listener confirmed to WTOP that she lives in the area and saw police and other armed officials surround the suspect’s house, trying to coax him out.
“And they’re talking to him. And then next thing you know, the house blows up. It’s a duplex and it’s collapsed the entire side and I don’t know about the other side of the duplex. I’m just hoping that people next door got out. And [officials] are now chasing us off the street with all the fire trucks and everything because we have [natural] gas in the neighborhood,” she said.
Three officers have reported minor injuries but none have been transported to hospitals, according to police. Officers are continuing to investigate the circumstances of the explosion.
No other injuries or property damage have been reported.
Fire officials do not know what caused the explosion, according to Arlington Fire & EMS Lt. Nate Hiner.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said federal agents and federal fire investigators were at the scene and assisting in the investigation.
Residents in the area are being asked to shelter in place until further notice.
Below is a map of where the explosion took place:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.