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Reward offered while authorities investigate house explosion as racially-motivated

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STERLING, Ohio--  The Division of State Fire Marshal is offering a reward for information in a house explosion in Wayne County.

The blast on Spruce Street in Sterling was reported shortly after 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. No one was home at the time.

The Wayne County Sheriff's Office said it is investigating it as a racially-motivated hate crime. Racial slurs and a swastika were painted on the garage and several vehicles.

The Sterling Fire District was first called to the house on Tuesday when a suspect attempted to ignite the house by filling it with natural gas and turning on the stove, the fire marshal's office said. That was unsuccessful.

The electricity was turned off on July 3 and the gas was turned off on Tuesday, according to the fire marshal's office. The house was being repaired because of an accidental fire on July 3.

There is a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible. Anyone with tips should call the State Fire Marshal at 1-800-589-2728.

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