48-Year-Old.South Orange Woman Killed in House Fire

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 a fatal fire that occurred in South Orange, early Friday morning.

Authorities say, at approximately 2:39 a.m., units from the South Orange Fire Department were dispatched to a report of a fire at a residence at 231 Ward Place where arriving firefighters observed an active fire at this location.

Authorities say as firefighters entered the structure, they located an unresponsive female on the third floor of the single-family residence.

The female was pronounced dead at the scene according to police.

The victim has been identified as Ms. Cecelia Cranko, 48, who resided in the residence, according to Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas S. Fennelly of the Prosecutor's Homicide Unit.

In a possible non-related incident that occurred on February 22, 2017, Cranko was on the third floor of her residence when she heard noises coming from her second floor.

When she went downstairs, she discovered a man standing outside her children's room when he began to punch/beat her causing several injuries to her back and arms. The suspect was never apprehended.

Authorities say no one else was injured as a result of the fire.

This incident is being investigated by the Essex County Prosecutor's Office Crime Scene Investigations Bureau.

The origin and cause of the fire remain under investigation, according to Fennelly.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Prosecutor's Tips Line at (877) 847-7432.