Laurel Nebraska explosions lead to fires at two different homes with 4 individuals shot dead. Cedar County authorities announce foul play. Suspect at large.
An unknown number of people were found dead in the early morning hours of Thursday in two homes in a small community in northeastern Nebraska. Authorities in preliminary statements said fire was ‘involved’ at both locations following an explosion.
Cody Thomas, a spokesman for the Nebraska State Patrol, said state investigators were headed to Laurel and would likely take the lead in investigating what happened.
‘Fire has been involved at both houses, and that’s all I know,’ Thomas said. He said he didn’t know how many people died or the circumstances surrounding their deaths.
The state patrol is investigating whether the two fires are linked, Thomas told KETV.
A press conference just after 4pm Nebraska time told of officers responding to reports of an explosion at one home, where they came across a deceased individual. While at the scene, reports came in of a second explosion and fire at a nearby residence where three individuals were found dead. Police said they suspected foul play with social media alluding to a suspect at large.
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Hazmat suits and voluntary lockdown
Officials with hazmat suits were seen walking towards the scene early Thursday morning.
There are thought to be multiple scenes in Cedar County, with law enforcement concentrated around 3rd and Elm Street, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.
The perimeter is understood to extend beyond the street, with witnesses reporting seeing and hearing an explosion at 3am.
A city official told local media that the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office advised that they go into lockdown.
Most businesses, a senior center and schools voluntarily went on lockdown at the recommendation of police, said Lori Hansen, a clerical assistant at the Laurel City Hall. She said she had no other information about what was happening at the police scenes the Times Union reported.
‘We’ve been listening to TV to try to find out what’s going on,’ she said.
Laurel is home to fewer than 1,000 people and is located about 100 miles northwest of Omaha.