EAST LANSDOWNE, Pa. (AP) — An officer who was shot while responding to a house fire outside Philadelphia required lengthy…
EAST LANSDOWNE, Pa. (AP) — An officer who was shot while responding to a house fire outside Philadelphia required lengthy surgery to his arm while another officer hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the leg should be released Thursday, officials said.
A spokesperson with the Delaware County district attorney’s office identified the injured as Landsdowne Officer David Schiazza, 54, and East Lansdowne Officer John Meehan, 44. Both have more than two decades with their respective departments.
Their recovery came as authorities searched the charred remains of the home in the suburb of East Lansdowne for six people left missing a day after a the shootout and fire.
Police and prosecutors were expected to discuss the investigation Thursday afternoon at Penn Presbyterian Hospital ahead of Schiazza’s anticipated release. It’s uncertain when Meehan will be released, according to Margie McAboy, the director of policy and public engagement for the county prosecutor’s office.
Firefighters remained on the scene Thursday as wisps of smoke were visible from the charred remains of the house. Heavy machinery moved into the neighborhood as investigators were examining the home.
An excavator was being used to tear down the walls left standing after the fire gutted the building, scooping debris to be sifted by investigators. A medical examiner’s office vehicle was there.
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer had said Wednesday “multiple people” inside the home may not have survived.
“We are hopeful that that is not true,” he said.
Officers responded to the house in East Lansdowne around 3:45 p.m. after a 911 call reporting that an 11-year-old girl had been shot, Stollsteimer said.
They immediately came under fire.
Officers from Upper Darby saved their lives by dragging them out of danger, he said.
Authorities believe the home was set on fire by someone inside. Intense flames were initially seen rising from the roof and top floor of the three-story home before spreading to the lower levels, largely gutting the structure.
Stollsteimer said later Wednesday that six to eight people, including children, were unaccounted for.
There was no more information about the child who was reported wounded.
The whereabouts of the person who fired at the officers also weren’t clear, but Stollsteimer said there were “no threats to the community from that house.”
Upper Darby Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt described a volatile and dangerous scene when officers from his department responded to the home and were able to rescue the two wounded officers.
“All officers that were on scene initially were taking on fire, and then when they removed themselves from it, there was no more gunfire at that point,” Bernhardt said.
East Lansdowne is about 5 miles (8 kilometers) west of downtown Philadelphia.
Associated Press reporter Mark Scolforo contributed from Harrisburg. Bruce Shipkowski reported from Toms River, New Jersey.
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