4 dead in two MYSTERIOUS house fires blocks apart in Nebraska, ‘foul play’ suspected
LAUREL, NEBRASKA: The Cedar County Authorities Investigating informed at a News conference that they received a 911 call around 3 am on Thursday, August 4, 2022, at the 209 block of Elm Street reporting a home explosion, where they found one person dead. Later, they received a call about a fire at a home three blocks away at 503 Elm Street where three people were found dead, foul play was suspected in both fires. A total of four people were found deceased and no information about the victims was released.
The mysterious fires in Laurel, a small community, home to fewer than 1,000 people and about 100 miles northwest of Omaha, caused police to recommend schools and nearby businesses go into lockdown. Colonel John A Bolduc, the superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol said, he believed both the incidents were related. “We have two fires with deceased people three blocks apart,” he said. “It would be a stretch to say that there’s no connection, but it’s very early in the investigation.” Officials say it is too early in the investigation to talk about the cause or motive of things. Meanwhile, officials have been communicating with local residents and businesses to see if there is any security footage pertinent to the case.
Shortly after the 911 call was received for a home explosion followed by a fire, law enforcement authorities received a report that a silver sedan had been seen leaving Laurel and heading west on Highway 20. The vehicle may have picked up a passenger before leaving town. "Investigators believe that 'accelerants' may have been used in both fires," Colonel Bolduc said. “They also believe that anyone who was inside the home at the time may have been burned,” he said. “Therefore it is possible that our suspect or suspects received burn injuries during these incidents,” he added.
Colonel Bolduc reported the vehicle was driven by a black male and may have picked a passenger before leaving town. Authorities are waiting for the autopsy to report the official causes of death. Meanwhile, officials have been communicating with local residents and business to see if there are any security footage pertinent to the case. Authorities say foul play is suspected, though they did not release additional information. Cedar County Sheriff Larry Koranda said "This is a tiny, safe community. We aren't sure if they knew each other, but everyone knows everyone in this community. If people see something out of the ordinary, call the state patrol." Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the state patrol at 402-479-4921.