Cause released in Johnson City fatal fire

By Perry Russom
By Brandi Bailey

February 17, 2014 Updated Feb 18, 2014 at 8:12 AM EDT

Johnson City, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Johnson City Police have identified the woman who died in a fire early Sunday.

Police said Sarah Wenzinger died of smoke inhalation in Sunday's fire at 71 Baker Street.

Wenzinger, 26, was taken from the fire to UHS Wilson Hospital where she was pronounced dead early Sunday.

The Johnson City Fire Department responded to the scene for reports of a kitchen fire at 1:50 a.m. Sunday.

Wenzinger's boyfriend, James McCoy, 38, was also inside the building but was able to escape. He was taken to Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse for treatment of burns to his head and neck. He was listed in fair condition Monday evening.

The fire started from a damaged light fixture on the back porch of the home, according to police.

Investigators also said there were no working smoke detectors found in the apartment in which Wenzinger died. She was found in a first-floor bedroom.

Smoke detectors in a second-floor apartment alerted residents to the fire, officials said.

Several fires happened in the Twin Tiers during the past few weeks, including four this weekend.

Bret Chellis, the Director of Broome County Emergency Services, says a common problem during the winter months is the use of alternative heating sources.

"Fifty percent are improper installation, so it's very important if you put in a wood stove to have your local code enforcement office inspect it," Chellis said.

Chellis said New York state law and many municipalities require a permit when installing a wood stove.

Chellis also stressed people buy and use working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in their home.

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