Police said they had been called to the man's home multiple times in the past for domestic issues relating to mental illness

By Rachel DeSantis
September 16, 2019 03:48 PM
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A Pennsylvania father allegedly exploded his own home in an apparent suicide on the day of his daughter’s wedding, according to multiple reports.

Authorities in Edgewood, Pennsylvania, say a house on Garland Street blew up just before 2:30 p.m. local time on Saturday, quickly collapsing atop the male homeowner, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. His body was found later that night amid the rubble.

“This gentleman apparently had some personal issues and we’ve had information from neighbors that would indicate that there’s a great potential here that he would have blown the house up,” Edgewood Police Chief Robert Payne told local ABC affiliate WTAE. “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.”

The man’s family was attending a wedding on Saturday, which meant they were out of the house when the explosion occurred, Payne told the Post-Gazette.

Neighbors told the outlet that the house collapsed within two minutes of the explosion, and was engulfed in flames “remarkably fast.”

Prior to the blast, the man had left his cell phone on the outside windshield of his SUV, which also contained apparent suicide notes, CBS Pittsburgh (KDKA) reports.

Payne told the outlet authorities had been called to 318 Garland in suburban Pittsburgh multiple times before for domestic issues relating to mental illness.

Neighbor Nicole Antolovich told WTAE she was “devastated” by the loss, and that the man should have been at his daughter’s wedding.

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“I’ve been here my whole life. I’ve known them my whole life,” she said. “Their daughter was getting married today and they were supposed to be at a wedding.”

Allegheny County property records show the home belonged to John Evans, who has owned it since 1983.

The Allegheny County Bomb Squad was called in to check on his SUV, and neighbors were told to evacuate around 11 p.m. local time, only to be given the all clear about an hour later, according to the Post-Gazette.

Payne said an Edgewood police officer likely broke his wrist while helping fire crews, and was taken to a local hospital.

Payne did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “home” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.