SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (AP) _ Firefighters battling blazes at two homes in neighboring New York communities early Thursday found five people dead, at least four of them shot to death, police said. Authorities said both fires had been set.

Two men and two women were found fatally shot inside a Schenectady apartment where smoke was reported at 5:35 a.m., according to city police.

``It looks like it's probably a murder-suicide, but it's still under investigation,'' Schenectady fire deputy chief Rod Rosate said. ``It's a real tragedy, especially on a holiday like this.''

A shotgun was found in the apartment, but investigators did not immediately know if it was the weapon used in the slayings.

Thirty minutes before that fire was reported, firefighters were called to a house fire in the town of Niskayuna, just outside of Schenectady, and found a woman dead inside. Authorities did not immediately disclose the cause of her death but said she did not die from the fire.

Rosate said the two cases may be related, but authorities did not immediately say in what way the victims may have been connected.

The second fire, at the apartment in Schenectady, 10 miles northwest of Albany, was reported by a neighbor. The blaze was contained to the apartment where the bodies were found, officials said.

Fred Perillo, 53, who lives nearby and owns a body shop next door to the apartment, said a woman lived there with someone he believed was her daughter.

``They were normal nice people,'' Perillo said. ``They don't bother anybody.''