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STERLING, Ohio — As authorities investigate an overnight house explosion in Sterling as a hate crime, the owner said she is in disbelief something like this could happen after more than two decades of living there.

“Total disbelief,” said Angela Frase. “We’ve been here 23 years and never had a problem. I don’t know where this is coming from. Why. Why someone would target us.”

Authorities said the home in the 6700 block of Spruce Street exploded about 1 a.m. Wednesday. A swastika and racist slurs were painted on the garage and vehicles in the area.

Frase said she and her husband, who is white, were not at home at the time of the explosion as there was an electrical fire about a month ago in the upstairs of the house. She said the gas line was disconnected after workers remodeling the inside of the home Tuesday thought they smelled gas. The electric was also off.

“It’s a blessing me and my husband…were not here,” she said. “Last night I got up here, I threw up twice. I woke up this morning thinking maybe this is a dream. It’s gone. Everything we own is gone. I know it can be replaced, but sentimental things, personal things you can’t get back. It’s gone.”

The State Fire Marshal’s Office will investigate the scene to try to determine what caused the explosion. Frase said she has no idea who may have been involved.

“Disbelief that there’s still this much hatred in America,” Frase said. “We’ve been here 23 years, and we’ve never had a problem and now this. We decided whatever happens, we’re not rebuilding here. We’re not coming back. We’re done.”

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