No one inside standoff house that caught fire

February 11, 2012 1:19:12 AM PST
There was no one inside the Vallejo home that was the scene of an hours long standoff that ended when the house caught fire Friday evening.

The events that lead up to the fire began much earlier in the day, when six men allegedly robbed and beat a man after luring him to a location in another Vallejo neighborhood through a Craiglslist ad.

"The victim stated that six males, mix races all armed with handguns robbed and beat him then left the scene in a green vehicle with chrome rims," Vallejo Police Lt. Kenny Park said.

Around 2:30 p.m., police spotted what they thought was the suspects' car outside a home on Castlewood Drive. Vallejo police, with help from the Solano County Sheriff's Department, surrounded the home and cleared the neighborhood.

"The information they gave me was it was a hostage situation and we can't let anybody on the block," neighbor Darnay Thompson said.

About three hours later, ABC7's crew at the scene says SWAT teams had fired 12-15 smoke grenades or tear gas canisters into the home.

"At approximately 5:15 in the evening the Vallejo SWAT team deployed non-incendiary, non-flameless CS gas into the residence," Park said.

Just after 5:30 p.m., smoke could be seen coming from the home and flames were visible shortly after.

The flames were extinguished just before 6 p.m. Firefighters were not able immediately begin fighting the fire because police had to first determine it was safe for them to approach the house.

Police don't know what happened to the suspects or how the fire started, but they're confident it was not started by their tear gas canisters.

Two dogs were found inside the home; one died.

The six robbery suspects are still on the loose.

The home is a rental property. The tenants returned to the home Friday evening to collect their belongings. The property owner told ABC7 he has never had any problems with them before and it is not believed they are connected to the robbery suspects in any way.

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