Eight people were found dead Thursday afternoon after a house fire in Oklahoma. Local and federal authorities are investigating the blaze as a possible homicide.
The fire was reported at roughly 4 p.m. in Broken Arrow, a suburb of Tulsa.
Officials did not provide details about who was killed or how the fire was caused, but they did not believe an immediate threat to the public existed.
“Preliminary reports are that this is going to be a homicide investigation,” Broken Arrow police spokesperson Ethan Hutchins said. “We’re still focused on trying to put out the fire and also investigate what happened to these victims.”
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Hutchins also called the scene “complex” and declined to comment on any search for the suspect.
“Understandably, this is a shock to Broken Arrow. It’s a safe city,” Hutchins said. “And so, we’re asking the community to please pray and come together because this is something that we don’t experience as a city very often.”
Police say witnesses told them a family of eight lived in the house — two adults and six children.
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One witness said that she saw a column of smoke near the house while she was driving with her children.
“When I got closer to the house, I saw smoke pouring out from the very top of the house, which looked like maybe the attic,” Catelin Powers said.
Powers reported that she saw two men and a woman outside the house. A third man appeared to carry an unconscious young adult woman out of the building. The witness then drove away to avoid traumatizing her children.
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The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was assisting in the investigation.
Reuters and Associated Press contributed to this report.