MAPLEWOOD, NJ – The South Orange Fire Department a call from central dispatch reporting a structure fire at 231 Ward Place at 2:39 a.m. Arriving at the site, the units found a working house fire on multiple levels of the two and one half story structure.
They immediately issued a call for mutual aid and cover receiving units from Orange, Millburn, Maplewood and Newark to assist at the scene. Units from Livingston, Belleville and Caldwell provided at the South Orange Headquarters while the others were working to strike down the fire.
Sadly there was one fatality, an adult victim who was located on the top floor of the structure. There were no injuries to any other civilian or firefighters. The responding units had finished at 7 am. The incident is currently being investigated by the South Orange Fire Department, South Orange Police Department and the Essex County Prosecutors Office which is involved due to the fatality.
Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, South Orange Fire Chief Daniel Sullivan and South Orange Police Chief Kyle Kroll have announced that authorities are investigating the fatal fire. The firefighters upon entry to the building, located an unresponsive female on the third floor. The female was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim has been identified as Cecelia Cranko, age 48, who resided in the residence, according to Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas S. Fennelly of the Prosecutor's Homicide Unit. No one else was injured as a result of the fire.
This incident is now being investigated by the Essex County Prosecutor's Office Crime Scene Investigations Bureau, stated Fennelly, to determine the the origin and cause of the fire.
Fennell asks that anyone with information to please call the Prosecutor's Tips Line at (877) 847-7432.
No further information is available at this time, and the story will be updated as it becomes available.