Editor's Note: Go here for the latest updates on Tuesday.
A home exploded in Arlington, Virginia, on Monday night and rocked a neighborhood with a powerful blast after police say a suspect fired a flare gun into the neighborhood dozens of times.
Stunning video shows a home exploding into flames and collapsing as debris flies more than two stories into the air. The blast occurred as police investigated someone shooting flares into a residential area near Ballston.
The explosion turned a duplex into a pile of rubble.
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The suspect accused of firing the flare gun is presumed dead, authorities said in an update on Tuesday.
Three police officers received minor injuries but were not taken to hospitals, the department said. Officials are unaware of anyone else who was hurt, they said at a news conference.
The suspect, whose name was not immediately released, is still unaccounted for. An investigation into the cause of the explosion is ongoing.
Northern Virginia news, events and updates
An hourslong standoff in a quiet neighborhood preceded the explosion.
Police received reports of a man firing a flare gun from a home in the 800 block of N. Burlington Street at about 4:45 p.m. The suspect fired the flare gun 30 to 40 times, Arlington police said.
Officers tried to execute a search warrant shortly before 8:30 p.m. The suspect allegedly fired multiple rounds, "from what is believed to be a firearm," according to authorities.
Police obtained a search warrant for the home and tried to make contact with the suspect by telephone and loudspeakers, but he remained inside without responding, police said.
Then, the home exploded.
Video footage shows the moment fire bursts through the home and its roof.
Police vehicles could be seen outside a brick house. A blast suddenly erupts and blows away the front porch. The roof flies into the air and debris and sparks rain down as flames grow and car alarms blare. People can be heard shouting in disbelief as clouds of black smoke billow.
'It felt like we got attacked'
Sam Kim, whose backyard is nearby, captured a video of a SWAT team trying to coax the suspect out of the house.
“Come to the front door with your hands up,” someone can be heard saying in the video.
Kim said he heard the police talking to the suspect with a megaphone. They told him to come out peacefully, and they weren’t going to leave.
He also heard them use a battering ram on the front door, gunshots and then the blast.
“Then we fell back. My housemate and I like fell backwards, and it knocked down a couple of windows,” Kim said.
Many neighbors said they heard and felt the huge explosion.
"I was in the back of my house, and I had been hearing prior to this some sort of firecracker sorts of sounds, and then suddenly there's a loud boom, and my entire house is shaking," neighbor Ann-Elise Quinn said. "All the lights went off immediately."
One resident said she and her roommate had just arrived home nearby when they heard “gunshot-sounding things.” Moments later, “it felt like we got attacked. I got pushed forward” Sarah Wilhoite said.
They ran outside and saw flames. “It was really scary,” she said. “It really did feel like something was attacking us.”
“You could feel the sound concussion,” resident Bob Maynes said. “I’ve been here for 50 years and I never experienced anything like that.”
Quinn said she saw flares coming from the house in the afternoon and initially thought someone may have been "goofing off on an afternoon."
"But then after about 20 of them, I start to think, 'This is concerning. Maybe somebody should call the police,'" she said. "There was a police unit that was going down the street and then took a turn around the corner down to the cul-de-sac where he was, and it looked like they gave him a talking to."
Arlington County firefighters had control of the fire and were battling small spot fires as of 10:40 p.m. The scene is about a half-mile west of the Ballston-MU Metro station, north of Wilson Boulevard.
Information was not released on how many homes were damaged or how many residents needed to evacuate their homes.
The FBI Washington Field Office and the ATF's Washington Field Division are assisting in the investigation.
The White House is monitoring developments on the house explosion, a spokeswoman said.
“Our thoughts are with the police officers that were injured in that explosion,” Olivia Dalton, the White House principal deputy press secretary, told reporters on Air Force One on Tuesday. “We’re grateful to law enforcement that handled that situation very swiftly.”
Streets in the area were still shut down Tuesday.
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