4 people killed in intentional fires in Laurel, Neb.: police

Four people were killed in two house fires that police believe were intentionally set in a tiny Nebraska town early Thursday morning.

“Foul play is suspected in these deaths,” Nebraska state police officer John Bolduc said at a press conference in the 972-person town of Laurel.

No suspects have been arrested in the case. Identities of the victims have not been released.

Police and firefighters responded to an explosion report around 3 a.m. in the town about 100 miles north of Omaha. At the first residence, authorities found one person dead inside a burning home.

While first responders were at the scene, a second fire was reported three blocks away, Bolduc said. When authorities arrived at that scene, they found three people dead.

Bolduc said that it’s unclear how and why both fires were started. Authorities have not determined the causes of death for the four victims.

“This investigation is in the very early stages,” Bolduc said. “We are not categorizing it as anything at this point”

A witness reported a silver sedan headed west out of town on the main road, U.S. Route 20, Bolduc said. The witness said a man was behind the wheel and may have picked up a passenger.

“We don’t know for sure if the people knew each other, but everybody knows everybody in this small community,” Cedar County Sheriff Larry Koranda said. “If you see something out of the ordinary, please call.”

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