The incident began at 11:56 a.m. Thursday when Lower Providence Township police officers received several 911 calls from witnesses about a man chasing the officer with a gun.
According to investigators, the code enforcement officer visited the home to perform a follow-up home inspection for the 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 retreated to his home, police said. Additional officers were called in to assist.
Shortly after, police said a series of explosions and gunshots were heard coming from the house. The suspect and the police did not exchange gunfire, but flames and smoke were immediately visible.
The fire destroyed three townhouses and damaged three others. The displaced residents have been helped by the Red Cross, police said.
The code enforcement officer sustained minor injuries and was treated and released from a hospital in the area.
According to a preliminary investigation, the cause of the explosions and gunfire was likely the result of the mixing of chemicals to detonate illegal fireworks and explosive ordnance.
The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is urged to contact the Lower Providence Township Police Department at 610-539-5901.
An autopsy is currently being performed by the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.
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