Four people were found dead on Thursday at two homes that were on fire in Laurel, Neb., a small city about 100 miles northwest of Omaha, the authorities said.
Just after 3 am Thursday, the authorities in the city of about 1,000 people received a call about an explosion in the 200 block of Elm Street, Col. John A. Bolduc, the superintendent of the Nebraska Highway Patrol, said at a news conference.
When the authorities arrived, they found a person dead inside the home, Colonel Bolduc said. As they were investigating, they received another call about another fire at a home three blocks away and found three people dead inside it, Colonel Bolduc said.
The names or ages of the victims were not released. The authorities were searching for a suspect and believed the deaths were the result of foul play, Colonel Bolduc said. He said he believed the two episodes were related.
“We have two fires with deceased people three blocks apart,” he said. “It would be a stretch to say there’s no connection, but it’s very early in the investigation.”
Larry Koranda, the Cedar County sheriff, did not immediately return phone and email messages. At the news conference, he called Laurel a tight-knit community where “everybody knows everybody.”