Police chief: Edgewood home explosion was a suicide
Hours before his daughter’s wedding on Saturday afternoon, an Edgewood man severed a natural gas line in his home, then used gasoline to ignite a fire that destroyed the house and caused his death, the borough’s police chief said Monday.
“All of the facts point to suicide,” Chief Robert Payne said.
The explosion terrified neighbors, who said it shook their houses, and others were worried because they regularly walk their dogs on the street, described by Payne as “one of the quietest in Edgewood.”
It happened at about 2:30 p.m., Payne said. The daughter’s wedding was scheduled for 4 p.m.
The man hasn’t been identified by police or the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s office.
“I’ve only heard nice things about the guy,” Edgewood Mayor Jack Wilson said.
He was the kind of person who cut neighbors’ grass and shoveled their sidewalks, Wilson said.
Police were aware of other “issues,” however, Payne said, adding authorities had “encountered him” previously.
The chief said the man had “anger issues.”
He was not going to his daughter’s wedding, Payne said.
A neighbor saw him standing outside the home with a gas container about five minutes before the explosion, Payne said.
Police also noticed the man’s car was parked on the street, but away from the house.
“We found his cell phone lying on exterior part of windshield, tucked under the wiper blade,” Payne said.
There were five notes inside the car that indicated the death was a suicide, Payne said.
The explosion and subsequent fire also damaged a neighboring house that had just been sold, neighbors said.
Police brought in equipment to sift through the rubble and found the man in the lowest level of the house, which is on the hillside above Greendale Avenue near the Swissvale Parkway exit.
On Saturday evening, police talked with family members who indicated the man may have also rigged his car with explosives. Payne evacuated neighboring homes on Garland and a couple on Harlow Street that were near the car.
The Allegheny County Bomb Squad responded, but found no explosives, Payne said.
The county police and fire marshal’s office are investigating and have released no new information, but Payne said there’s nothing to indicate it wasn’t a suicide.
“We’ve never had anything like this,” Wilson said.
Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, [email protected] or via Twitter .