Fires Intentionally Set Before New Hampshire Home Explosion

An explosion in a Brentwood, N.H. home where a police officer was shot and killed.
An explosion in a Brentwood, N.H. home where a police officer was shot and killed. –AP

Federal officials said fires were intentionally set in the Brentwood, N.H. home where Officer Stephen Arkell was shot and killed May 12. Those fires led to an explosion which was fed by gas lines in the home, according to Seacoast Online.

An ATF official said bullets penetrated gas lines in the basement, gas filled the basement and led to the explosion that destroyed the home.

The news came during a Monday evening press briefing on the investigation that has followed the death of Arkell, who responded to a home at 46 Mill Pond Road to investigate a verbal domestic disturbance. The ATF said gas caused the explosion in the home after a period time when the fires were burning.

Neighbors called 911 after they said they heard Michael Nolan, 47, swearing loudly at his father, Walter Nolan, 86, inside the residence they shared.

Officer Steve Arkell was shot and killed trying to enter the home. He was shot from an elevated position, according to New Hampshire State Police.

Nolan owned three handguns and three rifles, all of which were legal, according to CBS Boston. The fire and explosion destroyed a lot of potential evidence, according to officials.

It’s still unclear how Nolan died. New Hampshire Associate Attorney General Jane Young told reporters autopsy results may not be available for some time.

The elder Nolan has had difficulty explaining what happened before the deadly confrontation, according to NECN.

Walter Nolan, who owns the condo, had invited his son Michael into the residence, according to New Hampshire State Police; however, they don't believe he knew what his son was allegedly going to do. State Police say it was a "significant" argument that had prompted the 9-1-1 call last Monday and they've done everything they can do to get answers out of Walter Nolan.

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