The incident began at 11:56 a.m. on Thursday, when Lower Providence Township police officers received multiple 911 calls from witnesses regarding a man chasing the officer with a gun.
According to investigators, the code enforcement officer went to the apartment to conduct a follow-up examination for known hoarding conditions.
At noon, two Lower Providence Township police officers arrived at the scene and confronted Thomas Razzi, 66, outside his home and ordered him to stop. He was unarmed at the time but withdrew to his home, the police said. Other officials were called in to provide support.
A short time later, the police announced that a series of loud explosions and gunshots could be heard from inside the house. The suspect and the police did not exchange shots, but the flames and smoke were immediately visible.
The fire destroyed three row houses and caused damage to three more. The displaced were supported by the Red Cross, the police said.
The law enforcement officer was slightly injured and was treated and discharged from a local hospital.
According to a preliminary investigation, the cause of the explosions and gunfire was likely the result of chemical substances mixed into illegal fireworks and exploding ammunition.
The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Lower Providence Township Police Department at 610-539-5901.
An autopsy is currently being performed by the Montgomery County’s Coroner’s Office.
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