Update: This story has been updated to reflect that the suspect has since been found dead.
Eagleville, Pennsylvania — Multiple townhomes were engulfed in flames on Thursday after police said a homeowner pulled a gun on a code enforcement officer who was there for an inspection. Police said Friday that the homeowner was later found dead in the rubble.
The man, identified as 66-year-old Thomas Razzi, chased the code enforcement officer, who was there for a follow-up inspection, the Lower Providence Township Police Department said in a Friday news release. The home was known for hoarding conditions, police said.
"The code enforcement officer, thankfully, was able to get out of there and contact the Lower Providence police. Our officers responded to the scene. Upon arrival, they engaged the male in front of the residence and he retreated back inside," Lower Providence Township Police chief Michael Jackson said Thursday.
Soon after, police said, there were loud explosions and gunfire was heard coming from the man's residence.
"Police believed that the suspect was the source of the explosions and gunfire and that he had intentionally started the fire. At no time did police and the suspect exchange gunfire; police did not discharge their weapons," police said.
"Preliminary information indicates that the cause of the explosions and gunfire were likely the result of chemical substances being mixed to make illegal fireworks, along with ammunition exploding due to the fire. It has been learned that the suspect made his own fireworks and had several firearms and ammunition inside his home," the release added.
Authorities evacuated nearby residents. Others in the area were told to shelter in place. Firefighters fought the blaze from above while SWAT members covered their backs.
"I heard all these loud bangs and noises, then I saw the grey smoke," said Angela, who lives nearby but did not want her last name used. "They sounded like gunshots at first. And then all of a sudden, I just hear all the police sirens and the ambulance and all that."
The fire destroyed three townhomes and damaged three others. The code enforcement officer was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and was released, police said.