Warren County authorities say evidence found at the scene of a house fire on Friday shows the deceased man found inside shot himself.
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office and the Fire Marshal’s are now investigating the incident at the house in the 700 block of Northern Spy Drive, Linden, as a possible arson and suicide, according to a media release issued Monday afternoon.
The deceased adult male found inside the house destroyed by the fire sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the media release states, citing information from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Warren County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Jeffrey Driskill Sr. said by phone Monday that investigators recovered several firearms from the residence, including two long guns and a handgun. Records showed that the resident had reported two suspicious incidents at the house — a theft from a motor vehicle and trespassing — both of which occurred in May and June 2019, Driskill said.
Warren County Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico commented by phone on the decision to investigate the matter as an arson.
“Ultimately, from the physical evidence and the circumstances surrounding the incident, we believe that the fire is a result of the human act that is in connection with the suicide,” Maiatico said.
Fire and rescue crews responded just after 3 a.m. Friday to a report of an explosion and a house on fire in the 700 block of Northern Spy Drive in the Apple Mountain area of the county. Crews found a single-story, single-family home, a detached garage and two vehicles engulfed in flames, according to information provided by the Sheriff’s Office and the Fire Marshal’s Office.
Firefighters saw flames spreading to the wooded areas around the home. Crews took a defensive position and attacked the blaze from outside the structure. Firefighters also worked to contain the blaze and make sure it did not pose a risk to surrounding homes. It took firefighters approximately two hours to bring the blaze under control. Limited access to the home posed a challenge for firefighters and made it difficult for crews to put out the blaze, according to the release.
The Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office arrived and began its investigation to determine what caused the blaze and the reported explosion and where it started.
The Fire Marshal determined that the reported explosion or explosions occurred as a result of the fire spreading to compressed gas cylinders located around the home.
Authorities took the body to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, which determined that the victim sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Authorities are not releasing the victim’s identity until they receive confirmation from the chief medical examiner.
This incident remains under investigation as an apparent arson/suicide.
The Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Division led the joint investigation. The Front Royal Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Unit, the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office K-9 Division, the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police assisted in the investigation.
Anyone with more information about the incident can contact Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico at 540-636-3830 or Sheriff’s Office Investigator Jeremy Seabright at 540-635-4128.