The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office has identified the victim in a deadly fire in South Orange early Friday.
The blaze broke out at 231 Ward Place around 2:40 a.m. The fire left the three-story, single-family home heavily damaged.
The victim, 48-year-old Cecelia Cranko, was found on the home’s top floor and was pronounced dead at the scene.
There were no other occupants in the home when firefighters arrived and no one else was injured, the prosecutor's office said.
Two years ago Cranko told WABC 7 News she had been attacked by a man in the Ward Place home. She was on the top floor working when she heard a noise around 10:15 a.m. coming from the second floor.
When Cranko went to investigate, she encountered the man, who repeatedly punched her. Her children were not home at the time.
The man fled when Cranko called out to her Siri device to contact the police.
"I haven't slept through the night," she told the station. "I wake up with nightmares. It's been very scary. If I hear a noise, I jump up. It's been terrible."
Cranko, who according to online profiles worked as an architect in New York, took part in a "Transgender Day of Visibility" in March hosted by South Orange and its adjacent sister community, Maplewood, according to The Village Green news site.
Friday’s fire is being investigated by the prosecutor’s Crime Scene Investigations Bureau. The origin and cause of the fire remains under investigation, according to First Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fennelly.
Anyone with information is asked to call the prosecutor’s Tips Line at (877) 847-7432.
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