Suspicious house fire linked to recent KCK murder?

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Investigators say an early morning house fire in Kansas City, Kan. is suspicious. And some wonder whether it may be connected to a recent murder nearby.

The blaze happened at about 5:30 a.m. near 13th and Wood where people expressed concerns about a crime connection.

This is the home of two teenagers who police recently took into custody as part of a murder investigation. Jamie Johnson had lived in the now burned-out house. Relatives tell FOX 4 News two of Johnson's teenage children currently are in custody as part of an investigation into the murder of Nola Pierce.

Kansas City, Kan., police say Pierce was shot and killed outside her home, at 12th and Everett, back on July 25th.

Johnson and two other children not currently in police custody recently have been living with James Gaston, Johnson's father. The family says it's not angry about the fire. They are just thankful no one was hurt.

"Whatever the situation may be, this is for it to stop," Gaston said. "This is ridiculous. Whatever person did this, if it makes them feel better, okay. But it's just a total loss as far as the house goes."

Firefighters rushed to the burning house at about 5:30 a.m., witnesses say it was fully engulfed in flames.

Fire investigators tell FOX 4 News the fire is suspicious, and a witness described seeing unusual activity.

"I saw this tall African-American guy go in there," said the witness, who wanted to be identified only as Al. "I didn't know what happened. Then flames come out! The next thing I know I'm calling 911 to get the fire department here."

The Wyandotte County District Attorney's office told FOX 4 News to expect charges in Pierce's murder later today.

Kansas City, Kan., police have not yet returned phone calls to confirm whether they are investigating any possible connection between the fire and Pierce's murder.

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