COPS fear a 59-year-old US man blew up his own home while his daughter was getting married in an apparent suicide.
They were called out after a gas explosion ripped through the house in Edgewood, Pennsylvania, rocking neighbouring properties on Saturday afternoon.
Neighbours say they saw John Evans – the registered owner of the home – standing outside the property just before the terrifying blast, the MailOnline reports.
Emergency crews later reportedly discovered his body in the wreckage, with police recording a ruling of death by suicide – although a formal inquest is yet to take place.
According to posts on social media one of his three daughters, Lauren, was getting married on the day of the deadly blast.
Police said most of the family were attending the wedding, at the Catholic Community of the East End of Pittsburgh church, when the explosion happened.
Another daughter later posted a Facebook message asking people to respect the family’s privacy.
Police Chief Robert Payne told KDKA: “This gentleman apparently had some personal issues and we’ve had information from neighbours that would indicate that there’s a great potential here that he would have blown the house up.
“It looks like he may have been able to disconnect the gas line itself in the basement of the house and of course it wouldn’t take much but a spark to explode the house after that.”
He revealed his officers had been called to the home previously and knew of the man’s mental health problems.
Houses along Garland Street – where the blast happened – were evacuated as bomb experts checked to make sure everything around the house was safe.
Neighbour Donna Antolovich told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “We came outside to see what was going on, and the house was in flames – still standing – but in flames.
“Three to five minutes before the house blew up, the owner was standing in front of it. After that, nobody could find him.”
Another resident, named only as Nicole, added: “I was devastated. I’ve been here my whole life. I’ve known them my whole life.
“Their daughter was getting married today and they were supposed to be at a wedding.”
Dann Laudermilch said he was working a few houses away when the explosion rocked his home.
He said: “I would say about 60 to 90 seconds after getting out here, the house just collapsed in one large movement with a lot of sound to it.”
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support: