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PD: Man Found Dead in Salem, New Hampshire, Home Identified

Another 1,700 rounds of ammunition and four exploded magazines were found elsewhere in the home

A body found inside a Salem, New Hampshire, home following an explosion and massive fire on Monday has been identified as the homeowner.

Salem police said the body has been identified as 55-year-old Charles Hill. He was found in the basement with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

He was found with an unknown type 7.62 mm long rifle, a 9mm handgun, a .45 caliber handgun, two knives and 136 rounds of ammunition for the three firearms nearby.

Additionally, over 1,700 rounds of ammunition and four exploded magazines were found elsewhere in the home.

Salem police initially went to the condemned property at 20 Irving St. on Monday night for a neighbor dispute over property lines. A vehicle was seen in the driveway of the home but when officers attempted to make contact, no one inside answered, police said.

Officers then heard a hissing noise and smelled the odor of gas. While backing away, they heard a loud explosion and the windows blew out of the house. Police said the house then began to smoke and eventually was engulfed by flames. Following the initial explosion, officials said multiple rounds of ammunition could be heard going off inside the home.

Firefighters soon arrived at the scene to douse the flames, which could be seen shooting from the home. Nearby homes were temporarily evacuated.

Police said it appeared that Hill had planned the incident, possibly even preparing for police or fire to get close to the residence. They said it did not appear to have been an accident.

No first responders were injured in Monday's incident, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation. Some consumer grade fireworks were found in the rubble. 

Investigators weren't able to access the charred remains of the home until Tuesday afternoon after the bomb squad determined it was safe. Boards with nails sticking out of them had been set up along the accessway to the home, so there was some concern that the property might be booby trapped.

When they did enter, police found Hill's body in the basement, along with the weapons and ammunition. But he was not officially identified until Wednesday morning.

According to court documents, the town filed suit against Hill last summer, saying he was in violation of local zoning ordinances and housing standards because of accumulating trash and debris on his property and that the home was "unfit for human habitation."

Water and electricity had been shut off at the property since 2013, and police responding to the home in 2015 observed "rotting food, insects, garbage, unsanitary dishes, and a strong odor of feces and urine throughout the dwelling."

The home was demolished on Tuesday.

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