2-year-old among 3 dead after residential explosion and fire

Several people were found dead after an explosion on Wednesday ignited a fire in a home in Columbus, Ohio, seen Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020. Authorities in Columbus say homicide detectives are investigating the Wednesday evening blast because the cause remains unclear. (Kyle Robertson/The Columbus Dispatch via AP)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A 2-year-old girl and two adults were found dead after an explosion ignited a fire at an Ohio home, police said Thursday.

The cause of Wednesday evening’s blast in a neighborhood several miles southeast of downtown Columbus remains unclear, so homicide detectives are investigating, authorities said.

“They’ll kind of work with us on this, just to make sure that these fatalities are solely related to an accidental fire and not something else and the fire is to hide that,” Battalion Chief Steve Martin of the Columbus Division of Fire told WCMH-TV.

Neighbors reported a loud boom that shook homes nearby.

The bodies of Nerissa Distin, 33, Gary Morris, 42, and the child were found inside the scorched two-story house, police said. They didn’t immediately release the girl’s name.

Two other children lived at the home but weren’t there at the time, firefighters said.