A home and barn were completely destroyed by fire in Mecca Township and a man’s body is believed to be buried in the burned rubble.
Emergency crews in Trumbull County were called to a barn fire at about 3:15 p.m. Saturday, then quickly learned they were also dealing with a suicidal man as a dangerous and confusing scene unfolded at a property on North Park Avenue.
Crews were called to the home at 4948 North Park Avenue for reports of a possible explosion and barn fire.
“My first officer arrived on scene. He advised us of shots being fired. Here later on, it was from ammo that was kept in the barn,” said Trumbull County Deputy Steve Sabulsky. “The barn was fully engulfed when we got here.”
Officers on the scene encountered the son of the man who was believed to be suicidal. The son gave officers insight as to his father’s mental state. The man’s wife also placed a call to 911 after getting a text from her husband, who is also believed to be the man involved in the fire, saying he was going to kill himself.
“We were advised by family members that he was definitely unstable, and that he was a hunter, there were weapons in the house, in the barn area,” said Sabulsky. “When we checked the barn area, we found a lot of casings that went off because of the heat.”
But the sheriff’s department still hadn’t made contact with the man who could be inside the burning house or barn.
“I was going to make entry to the house. I seen smoke coming out. I didn’t want that backflash, so I backed off, talked to the chief. He agreed to hold off until it was safe for everybody,” said Sabulsky.
With guns drawn for their own safety, officers tried to approach the smoking house. At one point, the front of the house burst into flames. Black smoke was seen billowing from the house fire and the blaze inside the barn.
Emergency crews believe the man’s body may be in the rubble from the fires. Both the house and barn were completely destroyed.
The state fire marshal is investigating.