Quinnipiac Avenue explosion

Nine officers hospitalized after barn explosion in North Haven

By on May 3, 2018

Morgan Tencza | The Quinnipiac Chronicle
A house at 385 Quinnipiac Avenue exploded Wednesday night after North Haven Police responded to reports of a barricaded person, according to officials.

Eight officers were admitted to Yale New Haven hospital including at least four North Haven officers according to Eyewitness News 3. While the officers are in stable condition, neighbors remain on edge about the night’s events.

Neighbors reported that they heard the explosion and felt their own houses shake.

Anthony Laudano, who lives in the area, told the Hartford Courant that the explosion broke plates and windows in his home, as well as knocked pictures off his walls.

“I honestly thought it was an airplane crashing, it was so loud,” Laudano said.

It was reported that the police responded at 5:00 p.m. Wednesday evening to the reported barricaded person. Shortly after, a standoff ensued at the house between police and the suspect.

WTNH News 8 reports that police made an attempt to coax the suspect out of his home, but he refused.

Three hours after the explosion, the flames raged on as more than 100 first responders were on the scene, according to News 8.

A message sent out by QU Alert around 9:00 p.m. asked students to steer clear of the area surrounding Quinnipiac Avenue and Orient Lane.

Good evening! Area residents are being asked to avoid the area of Quinnipiac Avenue in North Haven, near Orient Lane, because of heavy police activity. We will update the university community as more information becomes available. Thank you,” the alert said.

Police asked neighbors in the area to shelter in place, according to News 3. Shortly after 11:00 p.m. electricity was cut to the area.

The suspect reportedly barricaded himself and his wife in the house before the explosion occurred. North Haven First Selectman, Michael Freda said that the wife had been held hostage for the over three days at a press conference at the North Haven Fire Station Montowese Company #2.

“We have to be ready in today’s society for something like this happening, and it did happen today,” Freda said at the press conference.

The man had been containing his wife in the house in a “threatening fashion,” according to Freda. The wife was able to escape from the house Wednesday night.

Freda said that the Montowese section of North Haven is a peaceful area, and that Wednesday night’s events were simply an “aberration.”

“I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 20 years,” Laudano told the Courant. “This is the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced. I mean, this is a quiet neighborhood.”

Freda also stressed that the scene was being demobilized as authorities gained more control.

Yale-New Haven hospital’s emergency room is closed to incoming traffic as doctors and nurses attend to the injured officers, according to News 3.

Aside from Freda’s mentioning of possible mental illness, the reason for the barricade remains unconfirmed. The cause of the explosion is unknown and the suspect remains at large.

North Haven Police has turned the investigation over to Connecticut State Police.

Update: May 3, 11:15 a.m.

News 8 reports that police have found human remains in the aftermath of the blaze.

Police have also said that a total of nine officers were hospitalized. Of the nine, five were East Haven police officers, three North Haven officers and one Branford officer, according to News 8.

No information has been released as to the cause of the explosion.

Update: May 4, 1:45 p.m.

A total of ten officers were injured after the events that transpired on Wednesday night. Nine of the officers were admitted to Yale-New Haven Hospital, according to the New Haven Register.

Four of the officers have since been released from the hospital.

The body found in the remains of the fire still remains unidentified. The identity will be dependent on an autopsy, according to the Register.

Stay with The Chronicle for updates.

Comments

About Nicholas Slater

Associate News Editor