The tiny town of Laurel, Nebraska, was rocked by four deaths at two separate homes Thursday, with residents reporting smoke and a potential explosion in the area.

A death toll has not been released by the Nebraska State Patrol, which is leading the investigation. Reached by phone, a spokesperson for the agency said that fire was involved in both incidents, but other details would be released during a press conference Thursday afternoon.

The Lincoln Journal-Star reported that people in hazmat suits were surrounding one of the homes involved.

Doug Furlich posted on Facebook that he heard an explosion around 3 a.m. Thursday and looked outside. There, he saw smoke billowing from a home two blocks away.

Furlich said he went to do his own investigating but was stopped by responding authorities. Soon after, he posted that he saw more smoke, this time from a house two blocks south of him.

“Ok, this is strange as hell,” posted Furlich. “Just now there is smoke coming from a place two blocks north of me!!! Just dispatched rescue there as well.”

Laurel, which has a population of 974, is located about 100 miles northwest of Omaha. With only a volunteer firefighting force and a single full-time police officer, according to its website, it relies on nearby agencies for assistance.



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