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Four people found shot to death inside burning home after reported explosion in Lenoir


LENOIR, N.C. (WBTV) – Police say they found four people shot to death inside a burning home after a reported explosion in Lenoir Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday, the Lenoir Police Department received 911 calls advising there were shots fired, a fire and a possible explosion at a home on Laurel Place NW between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Lenoir Police Department and the Lenoir Fire Department responded to the scene. When first responders arrived at the scene, there was a large fire at the home. Officials say the explosion happened inside the home, possibly originating in the kitchen area on the main floor. Officials have not found any natural gas lines to the home.

Once the fire department was able to extinguish the flames, investigators went into the home and found four people dead inside. Police say all four appear to have died from gunshot wounds.

Investigators confirmed the four killed were a father and three children, one of whom recently graduated. They’ve been identified as Ronald Albert Ward, 58; Ronald “Jimmy” James Ward, 29; Katlyn “Katie” Nichole Ward, 18; and Emily Grace Ward, 15.

Out of the five people who lived at the home, one person is OK.

According to police, this does not appear to be a random act and no suspects are being sought at this time.

Neighbor Kim Lackey was stunned when she heard four people had died in the home. She heard what she thought was gunshots just before an explosion.

“It was pow pow pow, and then pow, pow pow again,” Lackey said.

It was a few moments later that she heard the explosion.

Fire Chief Ken Hair says the source of the explosion is under investigation. He says there were no gas or propane lines going into the home.

Investigators say the fire was found to be set intentionally by use of an accelerant.

Local Pastor Kenneth Poarch says he’s known the victims for decades.

“They are a good family,” Pastor Poarch said.

He is hoping investigators can provide some answers as to what happened and why.

This continues to be an ongoing investigation involving The Lenoir Police Department, the Lenoir Fire Department, and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

Officials say no further information will be released at this time.

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