Police were called to a home in the 800 block of Burlington Street in the Bluemont neighborhood around 4:45 p.m. after receiving reports of shots being fired. Investigators determined the shots came from a flare gun that had been fired into the surrounding neighborhood approximately 30 to 40 times by someone inside the home.
A search warrant was obtained, and police attempted to make contact with the resident who remained barricaded inside. Authorities then say the resident discharged several rounds, from what they believed was a firearm.
That's when the explosion happened.
"They pulled back after putting, breaking through the front door. Trying to get him to come out, he wasn't coming out," said Alex Wilson who captured the blast on video. "They were like relocating, resituating to be able to go through to the front window and at that time, I mean, the place just erupted."
The blast happened just before 8:30 p.m., shooting flames and debris into the air police said.
Jason Bedford lives nearby. He told FOX 5's Bob Barnard that he and his wife saw the police activity from their window and decided to go to the basement. "Around 8:30 we were watching Monday Night Football. We heard a huge explosion, and it rattled our windows," he said. "Soon after we came out, we could see huge fire coming right between these two houses."
Bedford speculated that the resident suffered from mental health issues and said complaints had previously been made against him by others in the neighborhood.
According to the Associated Press, a resident of South Arlington reported hearing the explosion more than two miles away.
Arlington home explosion captured on video by neighbors: 'The place just erupted'
Natalie Pfister who lives nearby said she had noticed ‘Do Not Trespass' and ‘Keep Out' signs at the home in the past. "It's insane," she said adding that her roommate had previously noticed that the windows of the home were always covered by aluminum foil.
Pfister said she never saw anyone going in or out of the home. She said she believes a young family that lived next door was evacuated before the flames from the fire spread.
The cause of the explosion is still under investigation. Three officers reported minor injuries. The whereabouts of the person believed to be inside is not yet known.
An update is expected later this afternoon.