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Homicide suspected in deadly West Side house fire

NORTH BEND, Wash. – Two women were found dead in a house fire in Western Washington, and detectives are investigating their deaths as a double homicide.

Firefighters had to force their way into the house Sunday morning because the door had been blocked with a couch and other furniture, said Sgt. Cindi West with the King County Sheriff’s Office. “It was clearly and intentionally barricaded,” she said.

Fire crews also found at least five gas cans in the east King County house that appeared to be full of gasoline, West said.

Detectives with the major crimes unit are investigating the deaths, which West called suspicious. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office removed the bodies Sunday, and autopsies will determine the cause of death.

A bomb disposal unit called in to clear the house found a suspicious device, but investigators later determined it was not an explosive device, West said. Hours after the fire, investigators blew up a device at the scene as a precaution, she said.

No one else was found in the home near North Bend. A couple and their daughter live in the home, but the identities of the victims have not been confirmed, and police have not identified suspects, West said.

“We’re not calling anybody a suspect because we don’t know what we have,” she added.

Cate Reynolds walked to the scene Sunday afternoon with her daughter and other friends who said they were best friends with and recently graduated from the same high school as a young woman who lived in the house.

“They wanted to just come and be close and process some stuff,” Reynolds said.

Investigators searched for a 2003 blue-gray Toyota Corolla missing from the home and found it unoccupied in North Bend on Sunday afternoon.

“We don’t know that there is a suspect associated with the vehicle; we just want to know where the vehicle is,” West had said earlier Sunday.

A neighbor reported the house fire Sunday morning in this rural community about 30 miles east of Seattle.

Firefighters were unable to go back into the house after pulling out the two bodies because of the gas cans and other safety reasons. Crews were able to put out the fire about an hour later.