Ohio State Fire Deaths Ruled Homicides

A weekend fire that killed five college students in a house near Ohio State University was arson and the deaths are being treated as homicides, investigators said Tuesday. • Ohio Family Wants Answers After Daughter Dies In Blaze • Victim's Father...


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A weekend fire that killed five college students in a house near Ohio State University was arson and the deaths are being treated as homicides, investigators said Tuesday.

Authorities had not determined a motive and have no suspects, Detective Mike McCann said. A $15,000 reward was being offered for information leading to an arrest.

Investigators wouldn't comment on what evidence had been gathered.

The fire began early Sunday during a birthday celebration. Witnesses said there was an argument during the party, but McCann said authorities did not believe it ``had a huge amount'' to do with the fire.

The fire in the three-story brick house near campus killed two Ohio State students and three students from Ohio University. Two more students remained hospitalized Tuesday, one in critical condition.

Investigators ruled out an accident after scrutinizing a full-sized charcoal grill and gas and electrical lines leading to the house.

The fire broke out after a 21st birthday celebration for Alan Schlessman, one of the victims.

``I'm praying for all of the victims and their families and those that were responsible because they're going to need our prayers, too,'' his mother, Laurie, said Tuesday.

Fire Chief Mike Fultz said the victims were found on the second floor, where bedrooms are located, toward the back of the house.