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Moriah Center woman dies in house fire

Police, fire investigators search for cause

New York State Police Zone Commander John Tibbits, left, and Bureau of Criminal Investigation Capt. Robert LaFountain answer questions during a press conference at the scene of a fatal fire in Moriah Center. Sierra Daha, age 22, died in the blaze.

New York State Police Zone Commander John Tibbits, left, and Bureau of Criminal Investigation Capt. Robert LaFountain answer questions during a press conference at the scene of a fatal fire in Moriah Center. Sierra Daha, age 22, died in the blaze.

— The woman killed in a Moriah Center fire Dec. 3 has been identified as Sierra Daha.

Daha, age 22, died in an upstairs bedroom during a blaze at 2726 Dugway Road.

Two people — the home’s owner, Mary Daha, age 81, and Damian Sprague, age 20 — escaped the fire. Neither was injured.

Mary Daha is Sierra Daha’s grandmother. Police did not know what relationship, if any, Sprague had with the Dahas.

“This is a terrible tragedy,” Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said. “My heart goes out to the family.”

The fire was reported at 5:04 a.m. when Sprague ran from the house and stopped a motorist passing by. The motorist called 911.

New York State Police were the first on the scene, finding the house fully involved.

Moriah, Mineville-Witherbee, Port Henry, Ticonderoga, Westport, Elizabethtown and Crown Point fire departments responded along with the Moriah Police Department, the Essex County Sheriff’s Department, the Moriah Emergency Squad and the town of Moriah highway department.

Police said their investigation into the fire will take some time because of the damage to the building. New York State Fire Investigators will work to determine the cause of the fire, while Sierra Daha was taken to Albany for a forensic autopsy.

“The structure is unstable and we haven’t been able to search as completely as we’d like,” said Capt. Robert LaFountain of the state police bureau of criminal investigation. “It will take time, but investigators will do a thorough job in determining the origin of the fire.”

LaFountain said police have interviewed the fire’s survivors and intend to speak to them again. He said police are also seeking possible witnesses.

LaFountain acknowledged many rumors are circulating about the fire. He urged people to await the results of the police investigation.

“There’s an awful lot of speculation going on,” he said. “I caution against speculation.”

Fire, police, emergency and other personnel were on the scene from the first report at 5:04 a.m. until dark.

“It’s been a difficult and emotional day for the community and the first responders,” LaFountain said.

He praised those responding, particularly the volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel.

“They’re very dedicated to their community,” LaFountain said. “I’m very proud of them.”

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