Explosions, fire at multiple Pa. homes caused by homemade fireworks
Thomas Razzi died in the blaze, which investigators say he intentionally set after being confronted by a code-enforcement officer
The Philadelphia Inquirer
PHILADELPHIA — The fire that destroyed three homes and prompted an hours-long lockdown in Eagleville on Thursday was started by a resident with homemade fireworks, police said Friday.
Thomas Razzi, 66, died in the blaze, which investigators say he intentionally set after being confronted by a code-enforcement officer from Lower Providence Township. Detectives discovered Razzi’s body inside the unit he rented in Eaglestream Apartments just before midnight Friday.
That officer, police said, was at Razzi’s home for a follow-up inspection after neighbors had complained of “hoarding conditions.”
Resident threatened Lower Providence Township employee before fire, explosions, police say
When the officer arrived about noon on Thursday, Razzi confronted him with a gun and chased him out of his home, investigators said. Razzi went back into his home and slammed the door behind him after police arrived to confront him, they said. Soon after, explosions and gunfire were heard from within Razzi’s home, and a large fire broke out.
Investigators say no police officers at the scene discharged their weapons — they believe the gunfire came as ammunition Razzi had inside his home exploded from the heat of the fire.
The blaze quickly spread, destroying three homes and damaging three others, according to police. Residents were evacuated and surrounding schools and businesses were locked down for several hours.
In the aftermath of the fire, Razzi’s neighbors described him as quiet and friendly. He had few visitors, they said, and largely kept to himself.
The code-enforcement officer was treated at a local hospital for minor wounds and later released.
Investigators were still probing the cause of the fire Friday. Early reports indicated that Razzi started the blaze by mixing household chemicals to create the fireworks, which neighbors told police he sold out of his home.
Anyone with information is asked to call Lower Providence Township Police at 610-539-5901.
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ORIGINAL REPORTING - June 10, 5 p.m. PT
EAGLEVILLE, Pa. — Fire crews responded to the scene of multiple homes on fire in Eagleville, Pa., following an altercation between authorities and a homeowner on Thursday.
ABC6 reports that a code enforcement officer conducting a follow-up inspection encountered a homeowner who was armed with a weapon. The officer called the police who responded to the scene with SWAT. The homeowner then retreated into the home, and shortly thereafter, there was a series of explosions.
Lower Providence Township Police Chief Mike Jackson said three homes caught fire, and fire crews began extinguishment efforts.
The location of the homeowner is unknown.
“As of right now, we are trying to locate the individual who may or may not be inside the residence,” Jackson said.
Authorities have not yet shared the nature of the possible code violations or the reason for the inspection.