Woman Held Hostage Leaps to Safety


NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- A woman held hostage for five hours by a man who doused an apartment with gasoline leapt out a second-floor window Thursday as a police Special Operations Team hosed her with flame retardant foam.

She slid on the foam atop the roof of a first-floor porch, then fell to the ground below. Her leap brought to an end a public spectacle in which the woman pleaded for help out the open window. Some 200 onlookers watched the drama from basketball courts across the street.

Minutes later, police in body armor brought the man outside, to the cheers of spectators.

Both the man and the woman were taken to a hospital, police said. Neither had life-threatening injuries.

The incident began when firefighters and police responded at 7:20 a.m. to a fire report. When they arrived, a small blaze was burning on the first floor of the apartment.

A man in the apartment refused to allow firefighters to enter, saying he had a weapon and gasoline and would ignite the place if anyone entered, authorities said.

Firefighters, under police cover, managed to put a hose through the rear door and put out the fire.

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