A domestic altercation-turned-barricade early Thursday morning was just the beginning of the whirlwind which kept Richmond public safety officers on their toes most of the day.

The subsequent blaze, which destroyed The Paddy Wagon Irish Pub downtown, and suspicious package which employed the aid of Kentucky State Police bomb squad, spread officers and firefighters thin throughout the city.

“It all started about 1:30 this morning,” said Sgt. Willard Reardon, public affairs officer for the Richmond Police Department.

A fight began between Terry Rollins of Menelaus Pike, and his father, Theodore Rollins, while the two and Terry’s wife were driving near Keeneland Drive, Reardon said. After Terry allegedly slapped his wife, Reardon said Theodore stepped in to keep the peace and the fight escalated.

“They had stopped on the side of the road because of the altercation and I guess (Terry’s) dad probably said, ‘This is not going on inside the truck,’” Reardon said. “He basically physically assaulted his father on the side of the road and left him.”

A Richmond police officer saw the vehicle and followed Terry Rollins to his home at Menelaus Pike, where Rollins barricaded himself inside the home. Reardon said he began negotiations to get Rollins to come out, but he refused.

“The only thing he told me on the phone was, ‘You need to take your buddies and your badges and go on. I’m not coming out,’” Reardon said.

Richmond’s Emergency Response Unit was activated about 3 a.m., when police learned that Rollins did have weapons in the home, including an SKS and some hunting rifles.

“No shots were fired,” Reardon said, “but obviously we didn’t want to take a chance on going up to the house.”

The negotiations continued for about an hour, Reardon said, with the assistance of Rollins’ lawyer, Jimmy Dale Williams. Rollins finally was talked out of his home and arrested without incident. He was charged with second-degree assault and robbery for the theft of his father’s truck.

Theodore Rollins was transported to Pattie A. Clay Regional Medical Center with severe facial injuries, and later transported to the University of Kentucky Medical Center. Reardon said Theodore Rollins had been kicked and beaten and suffered contusions to the head, including injuries to his eye socket.

Blaze destroys pub, apartment

At 5:53 a.m., Richmond firefighters were called to the Paddy Wagon, where RFD Public Affairs Officer Corey Lewis said a thick, heavy smoke was blanketing the downtown area. A female occupant in the apartment above the pub was awakened by smoke detectors and safely got out of the building without injury.

Firefighters worked diligently to contain the fire to the Paddy Wagon and the upstairs apartment. Lewis said the department successfully saved neighboring businesses, The Whiskey and State Farm Insurance Agency,from destruction, an extremely difficult task.

“You are dealing with a lot of open, void spaces and small crevices which run the length of that whole block,” Lewis said. “I can’t say enough about the crews. They made a great attempt to make sure that fire did not spread to the left or right and we didn’t have a whole block that went up in smoke this morning.”

The pub, however, and apartment were total losses, Lewis said.

“Everything you see from the outside looks OK,” he said. “Inside, it’s a complete loss.”

As of Thursday evening, Lewis said it was still too early to tell what started the fire and where it began in the building.

“We’re just barely in the investigation process,” he said. The fire department’s own investigation team is collaborating with other fire investigators as well as the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Kentucky State Police.

“It’s a large scene and a little more than we are capable of handling,” Lewis said. “We had to pull some resources together and bring in the other agencies.”

The roof of the building collapsed about 8:30 a.m., Lewis said, and the main floor broke free from the structure soon after. No one was injured in the blaze.

Main Street from First Street to Madison Avenue will be closed through mid-day today, Lewis said, to allow crews time to get into the structure after it cools and investigate the scene.

“Just in sifting through the debris and gathering information, we’re looking at a two to three day process,” Lewis said. “We won’t be able to start inside until it cools. It will be a couple weeks before the report is ready to be released. It will take at least that amount of time to compile that information.”

Paddy Wagon owner, Chuck Fields, was unavailable Thursday evening.

Officials dismantle package

When Frank Grant arrived at work Thursday around 9 a.m. at Sammie’s Specialty Alignment, a suspicious package was leaned against the door.

The day before, Sammie Grant said one of the garage’s employees had received a threatening message.

“It was written on the door and window with marker,” Sammie Grant said. “‘Close within 24 hours or someone dies.’ Then it was signed ‘Death Squad.’”

No one at the business was expecting a package, Reardon said. Thepackage was shaped like a shirt box and wrapped in brown paper. It had only the employees name written on it who had been threatened the previous day.

Richmond police secured the area while the KSP bomb squad went in to investigate the package. Using a water cannon, the bomb experts imploded the package, but only removed the first layer, Reardon said.

“When they imploded the first one, there was still apparently another box that didn’t go with the first round,” he said. “So they wanted to go back and actually explode the second one. They used the water cannonand found some things they thought might be trophies that were delivered, so they’re going to look and see what the evidence actually is.”

The scene was cleared about 2 p.m. once it was deemed safe. The package was taken into evidence, Reardon said.

“The word we got from the guy this morning was that he was not expecting anything and I guess it concerned him with the threat that was made the day before,” Reardon said. “Unfortunately for us, we had to spend a few hours of manpower and people to secure the area when in reality it was not an actual threat. But then again, we have to think that it is.”

Kelly Foreman can be reached at kforeman@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.

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