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Massachusetts authorities investigating spate of suspicious fires

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2 dead in Northampton fires
  • Officials in Northampton, Massachusetts, say 9 fires have killed 2 people
  • 5 structures, "numerous cars" burned early Sunday, district attorney says
  • Fires reported between 2 and 3:15 a.m., DA says
  • Task force of local, state, federal fire officials investigating
  • Police
  • Deval Patrick
  • Crime
  • Fires

(CNN) -- Local and state authorities in Northampton, Massachusetts, are investigating nine suspicious fires that have killed two people and left residents shaken, officials said Sunday.

In just over an hour early Sunday, five structures -- including a single-family residence -- burned, in addition to "numerous cars," District Attorney Betsy Scheibel told a news conference that included fire and police officials and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

The fires were reported between 2 a.m. and 3:15 a.m., Scheibel's office said.

Two people were found dead on the first floor of a residence, Scheibel said. Identities of the victims are being withheld pending autopsy results.

"We know this community is deeply shaken by this series of suspicious fires," Patrick said. "I want the public to know that every resource at the local [and] at the state level is being applied to deal with this to bring comfort and safety to the community" and to find the individual or individuals responsible.

A joint task force of local, state and federal fire officials has been formed to investigate the circumstances under which the fires started, Scheibel said. All of the blazes have been extinguished.