A man police say barricaded himself inside a burning home Monday in Leominster, Massachusetts, has been found dead.
Police went to 8 Eden Glen St. to serve the man with a civil commitment warrant, Massachusetts State Police said. He refused to surrender and barricaded himself in the house.
"When I got here, it was coming through the roof," said neighbor Maria Richardson.
Hours earlier, police were trying to serve a warrant to have a man committed for concern over alcohol or drug use.
"They realized right away, when the door got slammed in their face and the door was barricaded," said Leominster Police Chief Michael Goldman.
Goldman says he doesn't know if the suspect had a weapon or if shots were fired, but his officers were sprayed with glass.
"Something came out of the window and a door my officers were trying to get into," Goldman said. "We don't know what it was."
State police negotiators tried to talk to the man barricaded on the first floor.
Richardson says she knows the suspect and his mother well.
"He has a mental illness and she's been away, so he's just not right," she said. "I feel so bad for her because she's in the hospital and can do nothing."
Witnesses said as police closed in and the fire continued to rage, the situation became increasingly tense.
"They were shooting out the windows to vent out the house," witness Jeff Greco said. "The pressure in the house built up so bad they backed everybody off. They were afraid it was going to explode."
"Everybody was in danger of that house blowing up," said witness John Egan.
After nearly three hours, the special ops team went inside and found the suspect dead on the first floor, police confirmed around 2:40 p.m.
"Somebody cared enough to take a section 35 out and try and get him some help, and it didn't end well for him," Goldman said.
Leominster High School on Granite Street was temporarily in "shelter in place" mode due to the police activity in the area, but that has since been lifted.
The investigation has been turned over to the Worcester County District Attorney's Office. The deceased person has not yet been identified.