By Brendan O'Brien
(Reuters) -A 42-year-old man was arrested on Friday in connection with the deaths of four people whose bodies were found at two houses in the Nebraska farming town of Laurel on Thursday when authorities responded to reports of explosions and fires at the residences.
A SWAT team took Jason Jones into custody at 2:30 a.m. local time, hours after a woman in her fifties was found dead at the first home, which was next door to the suspect's house, Colonel John Bolduc of the Nebraska State Patrol said at a news briefing.
A short time later, a second fire was reported at another house several blocks away, where authorities found a couple in their eighties and their son, in his fifties, deceased.
Evidence collected at the scenes connected Jones to the crimes, Bolduc said. Jones is being held on probable cause for murder but has yet to be booked because he had been air-lifted to a hospital after his arrest, suffering from severe burns. He remained in serious condition, Bolduc said.
The alleged crimes and the heavy police presence that followed on Thursday disrupted the small-town routine of Laurel, which is about 40 miles (64 km) west of Sioux City, Iowa.
Bolduc said on Friday it was premature to discuss a motive but said there was no longer any danger to the town's 1,000 residents. He also declined to comment on any possible connection between the two crime scenes.
Investigators suspect gunfire played a part in both crime scenes, the state police said earlier.
A silver sedan, believed to be connected to the crimes, was spotted leaving Laurel after the fires. Bolduc said authorities were still searching for the vehicle and that more arrests were possible.
(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago; Editing by Mark Porter and Matthew Lewis)