TOP STORIES Four people are found dead in two burning houses...

Four people are found dead in two burning houses in Nebraska.

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Barricades block off part of Elm Street in Laurel, Nebraska on Thursday, August 4, 2022. Nebraska State Patrol is investigating a multi-casualty situation that occurred in Laurel on Thursday morning.

Riley Tolan-Caig/The Norfolk Daily News via AP


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Riley Tolan-Caig/The Norfolk Daily News via AP


Barricades block off part of Elm Street in Laurel, Nebraska on Thursday, August 4, 2022. Nebraska State Patrol is investigating a multi-casualty situation that occurred in Laurel on Thursday morning.

Riley Tolan-Caig/The Norfolk Daily News via AP

Laurel, Nebraska. On Thursday, the bodies of four people were found in two burning houses in a small village in northeast Nebraska, authorities said.

Nebraska State Patrol Colonel John Bolduc said at a press conference that the man was seen leaving the city of Laurel before the bodies were found and that investigators would like to speak to him.

According to Bolduc, firefighters who arrived on Thursday morning in response to a call about an explosion and a fire in one of the houses found a human body inside.

After some time, firefighters were called to a second burning house a few blocks away, inside of which the bodies of three people were found.

Authorities did not name the dead or say how they died, but they said witnesses reported seeing a man leaving Laurel in a silver car. Bolduc named the man as a suspect in the death and said he may have picked up a passenger on his way out of town.

Bolduc added that investigators believe that whoever started the fire may have been burned.

He did not say how or if the victims were connected, and declined to speculate about the circumstances leading up to the killings.

“Right now, we don’t put it in any category,” Bolduc said.

Laurel has a population of less than 1,000 and is located about 100 miles (160 km) northwest of Omaha.

“Laurel is a very safe community,” said Cedar County Sheriff Larry Koranda. “It shocks everyone.”

Most businesses, nursing homes and schools in the community voluntarily closed around the time the bodies were found. It happened on the recommendation of the only police officer in the city, said Laurie Hansen, clerical assistant at Laurel City Hall. But even public officials were trying to get information about what was going on in the normally quiet city, she said.

“We listened to TV to try and figure out what was going on,” Hansen said.

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