Fiery explosion at Connecticut barricade scene injures up to 8 officers

A first responder works at the scene of an explosion and reported standoff in North Haven, Conn., on May 2.
(Catherine Avalone / Associated Press)

A fiery explosion rocked a Connecticut town, leaving up to eight officers injured, while police were negotiating with a man who had taken his wife hostage, officials said.

The officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the blast at a barn behind the couple’s North Haven home Wednesday night.

Deputy Police Chief Jonathan Mulhern would not comment when asked early Thursday if the suspect was in custody.

“This is still an active, ongoing scene,” he said. “This is not a stable scene at this point.”


First Selectman Michael Freda said the wife escaped before the explosion.

“This started late this afternoon with what was apparently a very violent domestic call,” Freda told WTIC-TV, adding that it led to a barricade situation and a SWAT team being called in. He said the police “were trying to coax him ... out of the house and really try to calm the situation down. Then things took a turn for the worse with an explosion.”

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

“It’s quite surprising,” Freda said. “This is a quiet residential neighborhood. It’s been a very emotional scene.”

Neighbors 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 were heard.

North Haven resident Joan Mazurek, 76, a retired accountant, heard what she thought was a train at her home about a mile away. 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.”

North Haven is just outside New Haven, home to Yale University.