2 dead, 1 man arrested after Coos Bay fires

COOS BAY — Two people are dead, another is believed dead and a 65-year-old man is in custody following arson fires in two Coos Bay homes, the county district attorney said Sunday.

Police arrested 65-year-old Edward Lawrence Nelson on suspicion of aggravated murder and first-degree arson after his home and a neighbor's house went up in flames Saturday, said Coos County District Attorney R. Paul Frasier.

A third person is believed dead inside the burned home of the neighbor. Two people are thought to have been inside the home when it went up in flames. Investigators, however, have only found the remains of one person, Frasier said.

The series of events began Saturday night when firefighters responded to a call of Nelson's home burning. The blaze was contained to the back of the house and did not cause damage, Frasier said, but investigators found a dead woman inside with indication that she died of "homicidal violence."

While responding to the first house fires, responders also saw an outbuilding and the main residence at the neighbor's property on fire.

"The residence was fully engulfed in fire and the residence was basically destroyed," Frasier wrote, adding that "Unfortunately, the two occupants of that residence are believed to have been inside of the home."

The identities of the two people inside the neighbor home and the woman found dead are being withheld pending family notification.

Nelson is being held at the Coos County Jail. Frasier says he'll file formal charges today. He is seeking three counts of aggravated murder and three counts of first-degree arson.

Frasier added that the investigators were due back at the fire scenes on Sunday.

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