A man who barricaded himself in a burning home has died, according to Massachusetts State Police. It is unclear whether or not anyone else was inside the home at the time of the fire.
Authorities arrived at the man’s home on Eden Glen Road in Leominster, Massachusetts, earlier today to serve him a civil commitment warrant, which “allows the law to compel someone to be involuntarily treated for drug and alcohol abuse,” according to the Boston Herald.
However, upon being confronted by police, the man refused to surrender, instead choosing to barricade himself inside his home, CBS Boston reports. State police said that the man then intentionally set his home on fire. People gathered outside of the home, watching the billowing flames take over the afternoon sky.
A short time later, reporters in the area said that they heard something that “sounded like gunshots.” Despite eyewitness accounts, police have not confirmed whether or not the suspect was armed.
Schools in the area were on lockdown after reports of an “active shooter” began circulating, but the “shelter in place” order was lifted a little before the end of the school day.
“The Superintendent of Leominster Public Schools sent out a statement saying students were sheltering in place because of a reported active shooter near the CVS store on Central Street. That shelter-in-place order was lifted before 2 p.m.”
State Police had enlisted the help of a crisis negotiator in hopes of getting the man to surrender. Over the past hour or so, reporters in the area posted updates to social media, one recently tweeting that the negotiator could be heard talking to the suspect.
Meanwhile, fire fighters were on the scene, battling the flames. According to MassLive, several homes in the neighborhood had been evacuated and streets nearby have been closed off as fears that the fire will spread.
Below are some photos and videos from the scene.