Neighbors tense after North Haven explosion, standoff situation - WFSB 3 Connecticut


Neighbors tense after North Haven explosion, standoff situation

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Neighbors called it a chaotic scene after a standoff situation and barn explosion on Quinnipiac Avenue in North Haven Wednesday night. (WFSB) Neighbors called it a chaotic scene after a standoff situation and barn explosion on Quinnipiac Avenue in North Haven Wednesday night. (WFSB)

Neighbors in North Haven described a tense night during which a man held his wife hostage, had a standoff with police and experienced a barn explosion.

It all began on Wednesday afternoon around 2 p.m. on Quinnipiac Avenue.

The road was closed until about 3 p.m. on Thursday when it reopened.

State police said a woman reported being held hostage by her husband for three days. She escaped, which prompted the response from North Haven police.

When they arrived, the man barricaded himself in a barn on the property. During the negotiation process, troopers said the barn exploded Wednesday night.

Neighbors were told by police to stay inside their homes and out of harm's way.

They said they could hear police trying to negotiate with the man over a bullhorn. For hours, officers made repeated pleas for him to come out.

They said they then heard the huge explosion and saw the fiery blast.

"[Wednesday] night we were watching television, when all of a sudden, there was a big bang!” said one neighbor who didn't wish to be identified.

They said the fire lasted for hours.

"It was still on fire [Thursday] morning," said Gina Adams of North Haven. "We kept hearing the pops. They were pretty loud.”

They called it a chaotic moment.

Adams said her biggest challenge was trying to keep a sense of calm and normalcy for her young daughter with all the commotion and chaos out side.

“I brought her upstairs to put her to bed, it was about 8:15 and that’s when we heard the explosion in the house," she said. "The first thing you think when you have kids is protect, cover.”

Afterwards, police told everyone to clear the street and take cover.

"[They said] 'get inside, lock your doors,'" Adams said. "'It's for your safety.' We listened.”

With a lengthy investigation ahead, neighbors told Channel 3 that Wednesday night was a night they won't forget.

“Although we were scared, we did feel safe," Adams said. "Our house was surrounded by cops and firemen [and] state cops.”

"To see officers hurt, it bothers me because it takes a lot of courage to walk into harm's way and protect us and I don’t think we give them enough credit," said Pat Anderson, a neighbor.

Several of them rushed in to help the nine officers who were hurt by the blast.

Those officers were sent to the hospital and are expected to be OK.

"These SWAT officers are going above and beyond, they are the best of the best and they are called to handle the most difficult of situations," said Branford Police Capt. Geoffrey Morgan.

Five East Haven officers, three North Haven, and one from Branford were all hospitalized.

North Haven's First Selectman Michael Freda visited every officer on Thursday and said two of their officers were released from the hospital.

"The families were there and the officers are doing well, they were happy to see the visitors that they had and delighted to see how positive and upbeat they are,” Freda said.

The hope is all will recover quickly.

"The support that has been given to these officers not only in North Haven, but the entire region has been great to see,” Freda said.

Anderson described the neighborhood as quiet before Wednesday's incident.

"It’s a safe environment," he said. "To see this happen, it brings it home. You see how messed up this world really is."

State police took over the investigation.

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