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Body found in house after SWAT team finds it on fire in West Seattle

SEATTLE –A man's body was found inside a house after a SWAT team entered and found it on fire when they went to enforce an eviction Friday morning.

Flames continued to flare inside the home late into Friday evening and interrupted detectives investigating the scene.

The King County sheriff's at first said that they also found an explosive device hooked to a tripwire in the house, but later reversed that and said the device wasn't explosive.

The two-alarm fire was in a house in the 5600 block of 42nd Ave. S.W. in West Seattle.

Seattle police said the incident began when a SWAT team was sent to the house for a planned eviction. The 52-year-old man who had been living in the house was the son of the former owner, a woman who was a ward of the state and died late last year.

Sheriff's deputies told Q13 News they went to the location on Friday with mental health professionals trying to reach a peaceful resolution. The reason a SWAT team was there was that the man was believed to have about two dozen guns, and repeated attempts to remove him from the home were unsuccessful.


"Because of the heightened nature of the concerns of all the guns that were registered to him we involved the SWAT team, said Sgt. Jason Houck with the King County Sheriff's Office. "It’s not something normally they do on evictions, normally they’re fairly calm and not dangerous. But this one all the issues we had and heard about him, we decided to involved the SWAT team."

When the team arrived, they broke through a storm door, immediately noticed the fire, retreated and sent the fire department in.

A video from Rasmus Ramussen on Twitter showed police telling people to take cover, and ordering firefighters on the scene to approach the house with body armor.

Shortly after noon, Seattle fire said crews were undertaking defensive operations. The fire was under control by 1:50 p.m. but flared up several times throughout the afternoon.

No firefighters or deputies were injured, and the fire is under investigation.

Deputies said the King County Medical Examiner would later identify the man found inside the burned out home.