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December 7, 2013

Moriah Center fire still probed

MORIAH CENTER — The on-site investigation of a deadly house fire in Moriah Center this week has ended.

“They (investigators) concluded their processing of the house at 10 p.m. Thursday night,” State Police Troop B Public Information Officer Trooper Jennifer Fleishman said on Friday.

She said there were no new developments in the case.

Sierra A. Daha, 22, died of asphyxiation due to smoke inhalation during the fire, which was reported just after 5 a.m. Tuesday.

That was the preliminary finding of an autopsy conducted by Dr. Michael Sikirica at Albany Medical Center on Wednesday. 

Further details, such as manner of death and toxicology analysis, are still awaited.

The Moriah Town Highway Department used heavy equipment to remove parts of the burned-out home, located on Dugway Road, to give fire investigators better access.

“They took part of the roof off and the front,” Fleishman said.

Fire officials said the two-story wood-frame home was so heavily damaged in the fire that it will have to be demolished.

“It’s a total loss,” she agreed.

Two others escaped the fire without injury: Mary Daha, 81, Sierra’s grandmother; and the young woman’s boyfriend, Damian Sprague, 20.

Both are staying with relatives in the area, officials said.

Investigation into the origin of the fire is being conducted by the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control Arson Bureau and the Essex County Fire Investigation Unit, in coordination with State Police.

A determination on the cause could take several weeks, police said, because debris samples taken from the home must be analyzed.

Sierra was found in her second-floor bedroom on the upper left side of the house.

Multiple fire departments fought the fire Tuesday morning, but State Police said the house was fully engulfed in flames when they arrived.

Dugway Road was reopened when investigation at the property concluded.

Police said no arrests had been made.

Email Lohr McKinstry:lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

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