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Saturday 16 November 2019

Stand-off with US police over domestic row ends with barn wiped out by explosion

A woman rang police to report violence before the blast left nine police officers injured in North Haven, Connecticut.

A fire behind a house in North Haven (Kevin Galliford/WFSB-TV via AP)
A fire behind a house in North Haven (Kevin Galliford/WFSB-TV via AP)

By Dave Collins in North Haven

A US woman’s call to police to report domestic violence led to a stand-off and explosion in a barn behind her home that left one person dead and nine officers injured.

The officers were being treated for non-life threatening injuries after the blast on Wednesday night in Connecticut.

The remains of one unidentified person were found in a building at the home in North Haven, State Police Trooper Kelly Grant said.

Ms Grant said she could not confirm the identity of the body until a post-mortem examination was completed.

The woman was not at the home when police arrived but Ms Grant declined to reveal her condition, saying it was part of the investigation.

Emergency personnel work at the scene of an explosion in North Haven (John Woike/Hartford Courant via AP)

The owners of the property, Deborah and John Sayre, were going through a divorce, according to court records.

Mrs Sayre filed for divorce on April 18 and checked a box that said the marriage had “broken down irretrievably”.

North Haven Deputy Police Chief Jonathan Mulhern said a woman called police to report domestic violence and police tried for hours to coax the man outside.

Emergency personnel deal with a stand-off that ended in an explosion in North Haven (Catherine Avalone/New Haven Register via AP)

“Come out, John,” police said into a megaphone aimed at the house before the explosion.

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

“They all did suffer injuries that were consistent with the blast,” Mr 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.”

Charred remains from an explosion in North Haven (John Woike/Hartford Courant via AP)

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 were heard.

North Haven resident Joan Mazurek, 76, 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.”

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