By A. Fine Moss|Beacon BLAP Beat
A Bass Lake man on Tuesday afternoon narrowly escaped complete and utter annihilation after the house he had called home for umpteen years was “saved” by Bass Lake Authority Police from hostile occupation by the homeowner, who police believed had hostages inside.
Crandall R. Johanssonburg, 37, dove through a living room window as flames engulfed his residence on Barricade Lane in Middle Central Bass Lake. The structure later exploded.
The fire which caused the explosion started after BLAP officers launched tear gas canisters through several windows in an attempt to force Johanssonburg from the property.
Police said Johanssonburg had barricaded himself inside the home.
“We got a call from a neighbor who said he heard banging and yelling coming from inside the home,” BLAP chief Gwen “Tug” McNabb said. “And when we heard the word ‘barricade’ we knew what had to be done.”
Johanssonburg disputed BLAP’s characterization of the events.
“I didn’t barricade myself inside,” Johanssonburg said. “I accidentally locked myself inside. I was yelling for help.”
Johanssonburg said his key broke in his front door deadbolt.
“We negotiated with the suspect for upwards of 15 minutes,” McNabb said. “When he refused to exit the premises we took action. We needed to save the home and the occupants inside said home.”
McNabb said he feared Johanssonburg, who lives alone, had hostages inside.
“We had to put an end to this crisis,” McNabb said. “BLAP policy demanded it.”
Mayor Forrest Bunkard, who happened to be walking his dog along Barricade Lane when the incident unfolded, said he was reminded of a similar police action that happened decades earlier.
“I have seen this type of sanctioned police overreaction before,” Bunkard said. “Do the words ‘police drop bomb on home of MOVE group members, leveling entire city block’ ring any bells? Look it up. Philadelphia, 1985. This reminds me of that.”
Johanssonburg was arrested on suspicion of frightening police officers.