Police and Fire South Orange

Beloved South Orange Activist Cecilia Cranko Killed in Overnight Fire

Authorities have confirmed that South Orange architect and activist Cecilia Cranko is the victim of the overnight fire on Ward Place.

Cranko, 48, was discovered during search and rescue as the firefighters worked to knock down the fire, according to Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas S. Fennelly of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Homicide Unit.

Firefighters from the South Orange Fire Department responded to the residence at around 2:39 a.m. and found Cranko unresponsive on the third floor of the single family home. She was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a release (see full release below).

There were no other injuries. The incident is being investigated by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Crime Scene Investigations Bureau. The origin and cause of the fire remains under investigation, according to Fennelly. Anyone with information is asked to call the Prosecutor’s Tips Line at (877) 847-7432.

Cranko has been a fixture at LBGTQ+ rights rallies in recent years.

[Editor’s note: Although the ECPO reported Cranko’s name spelling as Cecelia, South Orange Village President Sheena Collum has confirmed that Cranko’s name was Cecilia.]

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, NJ early this morning (7/5/19). 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. Arriving firefighters observed an active fire at this location. 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. The victim has been identified as Cecelia Cranko, age 48, who resided in the residence, according to Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas S. Fennelly of the Prosecutor’s Homicide Unit. 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 remains under investigation, according to Fennelly. Anyone with information is asked to call the Prosecutor’s Tips Line at (877) 847-7432.

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