UPDATED: Police Issue Statement on Home Explosion

Published on December 05, 2023


UPDATED (June 7, 2024 at 1:22 p.m.) – The Arlington County Police Department, Arlington County Fire Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosions and the Federal Bureau of Investigation held a joint press conference today releasing a timeline video of the on-scene investigation and announced the investigative findings in the December 4, 2023, home explosion on N. Burlington Street.

During the press conference, the human remains recovered at the scene were confirmed to be that of the homeowner, 56-year-old James Yoo. His cause of death was determined to be thermal injuries and blunt force trauma. Fire investigators determined the explosion originated in the basement of the home, was caused by the suspect, and involved gasoline and a competent ignition source. For additional information on the investigative findings, watch the press conference.

“The County Board is grateful for the professional response from our Arlington public safety agencies and federal partners and their efforts to keep the community safe during this incident,” said Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey. “We also recognize the great work of our emergency management and human services teams to help the residents impacted by the explosion in the days and weeks that followed.”

UPDATED (Dec. 7, 2023 at 2:30 p.m.) The Arlington County Fire Department, Office of the Fire Marshal has concluded operations on the scene of the recent explosion and fire at 844 N. Burlington St. While operations at the scene have concluded, the investigation into the incident, including the cause of the explosion, is ongoing. 

Residents displaced following the home explosion in the 800 block of N. Burlington Street were permitted to return home Wednesday evening.

The Bluemont Junction Trail and the Fields Park cleanup process is underway, led by the Department of Parks and Recreation. Fields Park will remain closed for the duration of the winter season.

Fencing has been installed to secure the site. The Department of Environment Services continues to clear debris, a process that will take time; continued patience is appreciated.

Arlington County staff are in communication with residents and encourage them to continue to reach out for support and resources. If any resident in need of assistance, including medical, food, housing, or mental health assistance, please contact the Arlington County Department of Human Services at (703) 228-1300 or (703) 228-1398 (TTY).

MOREArlington County Board Statement on Home Explosion

UPDATED (Dec. 5, 2023 at 6:25 p.m.) – The Arlington County Police Department, in cooperation with the Northern Virginia Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT), the Arlington County Fire Department and our federal law enforcement partners continue to investigate a home explosion in the 800 block of N. Burlington Street which occurred on the evening of December 4, 2023.

Based on the preliminary investigation of the incident, we believe the resident of the home, James Yoo, 56, of Arlington, VA is the involved suspect. The suspect was inside the residence at the time of the explosion. Human remains have been located at the scene which are presumed to be the suspect. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will work to positively identify the individual and determine cause and manner of death. Our investigation has now transferred into a recovery operation as we work to collect and process evidence. There is no ongoing threat to the community related to this incident and no outstanding suspects.

WATCH: Press briefing on home explosion

“I would like to thank the Arlington Community for their support during this time and patience as we complete what will be an extensive and time-consuming investigation,” said Chief Andy Penn. “I also want to express how proud I am of the members of the police department and our public safety partners for their courageous and professional actions to ensure the safety of our community.”

This remains an active and ongoing criminal investigation. Anyone with digital media from this area, including but not limited to videos and photos, please use this link to securely share them with investigators. 

(The below initial press release was issued at 12:58 a.m. on December 5)

ARLINGTON, Va. – At approximately 4:45 p.m. on Dec. 4, 2023, the Arlington County Police Department was dispatched to the 800 block of N. Burlington Street for the report of possible shots heard. The preliminary investigation indicated a suspect discharged a flare gun approximately 30 – 40 times from inside his residence into the surrounding neighborhood. No property damage or injuries were reported related to the discharge of the flare gun.

During the course of the investigation, officers obtained a search warrant for the suspect’s residence and attempted to make contact with the suspect over the telephone and through loudspeakers. The suspect did not respond and remained barricaded inside the residence. As officers were attempting to execute the search warrant, the suspect discharged several rounds, from what is believed to be a firearm, inside the home. Subsequently, at approximately 8:25 p.m., an explosion occurred at the residence. The investigation into the circumstances of the explosion are ongoing.

The Arlington County Fire Department responded to the scene to extinguish the fire. As of approximately 10:30 p.m., the fire is under control and crews continue to battle small spot fires.

Three officers reported minor injuries and there were no transports to the hospital related to this incident. The investigation is ongoing.

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