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Subject: Fire Kills Five in Student-Occupied House Near Ohio State Campus

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Date Posted: April 13, 2003 3:24:41 EDT

A suspicious fire started early Sunday as a college student's 21st birthday party was breaking up, killing five people and injuring three, firefighters said.

One of the injured, a 20-year-old man, was in critical condition with burns, officials said.

About 80 people had been at the party, and 10 to 20 were still in the student-rented house near Ohio State University when the fire started around 4 a.m., said police Sgt. Dana Norman.

Arson and homicide investigators were at the house, and police were investigating reports of a fight before the fire began, Norman said.

"The cause has been ruled suspicious," Fire Department spokeswoman Kelly McGuire said.

Firefighters found the bodies scattered throughout the house, Norman said.

Of the 12 Ohio State students who lived in the house, 10 had been accounted for and were alive, said one of the residents, Zack Randol, 21, a sophomore from New York who said he wasn't home that night.

He said the party was to celebrate the 21st birthday of one of his roommates.

Two women injured at the home were expected to be released after treatment and two firefighters were treated or minor injuries, officials said. Identities of the victims were not immediately released.

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