Press-Republican

Local News

December 5, 2013

Moriah fire victim died of asphyxiation

MORIAH — Sierra A. Daha died of asphyxiation due to smoke inhalation, an autopsy revealed on Wednesday afternoon.

The young woman’s body was found after the early Tuesday morning fire that mostly gutted the Dugway Road home that she shared with her grandmother, Mary Daha, 81, and boyfriend, Damian Sprague, 20, in the Moriah Center hamlet. 

“The manner of death is still pending the results of the investigation,” State Police said in a press release.

Investigation into the cause of the fire continued in earnest Wednesday at the burned-out and collapsing house.

State Police have called it a “crime scene,” and it sat fog-shrouded Wednesday morning just before 8 as investigators went in and out, some speaking with a state trooper standing out front with a clipboard.

Four State Office of Fire Prevention and Control Arson Bureau vehicles, two State Police cars and a State Police Forensic Unit van sat outside the house.

SOME DEMOLITION

Sierra’s body was located in her bedroom on the second floor of the house.

Her grandmother and boyfriend escaped the burning building.

Debris collected from the structure, which sits by itself next to Moriah Cemetery, was being sent to the State Arson Laboratory in Albany.

Dugway Road, closed all day Tuesday, reopened to traffic Wednesday morning, but it was shut down again around noon so the Moriah Town Highway Department could use heavy equipment to remove parts of the gutted home to give fire investigators better access.

Troop B Public Information Officer Trooper Jennifer Fleishman said it would take at least a couple of days to make a determination on how the fire started.

The State Fire Team was at the location, and efforts were ongoing to make the structure safer for investigators entering it, she said.

“It’s quite a process to stabilize the house, and they have to stabilize the chimney, as well,” she said.

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