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Police identify victims of deadly Saratoga Springs fire

Police identify victims of deadly Saratoga Springs fire

Police: Fire was caused by electrical malfunction
Police identify victims of deadly Saratoga Springs fire
Saratoga Springs police and firefighters on the scene of a fire at 55 Tamarack Trail, July 20, 2017.
Photographer: Erica Miller

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Police have identified the couple whose home caught fire Thursday, killing one and sending the other to the hospital.

Susan Lewin, 52, was found deceased inside the home by firefighters responding to fight the fire Thursday, authorities said. Her cause of death has been determined to be smoke inhalation, according to a prepared statement issued Friday by the Saratoga Springs police department.

Jason Lewin, 50, was still being treated at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse for injuries he suffered in the fire, police said Friday. 

Fire investigators have determined that the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction in the living room area. There was a smoke detector in the hallway between the living room and the bedrooms, but because it was so badly damaged, investigators could not determine if it was working at the time of the fire, according to Friday's police report.

Fire Chief Robert Williams reminded city homeowners to install smoke detectors “on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.”
“Test all smoke detectors monthly, and replace batteries at least twice a year — and have an escape plan that includes two ways out and practice that escape plan,” he said in a prepared statement.

Police Lt. Bob Jillson said the home sustained some fire, smoke and water damage but is structurally sound. Broken windows on the house were boarded up by the city codes department early Friday morning, he said. 

He did not know if the house was insured.

Four dogs died in the fire. Four others got out alive and were taken to the Northway Animal Emergency Clinic in Moreau.

Three of the surviving dogs had either been released to the Saratoga County Animal Shelter in Milton or were expected to be sent there soon, Jillson said. The fourth was still being treated for facial burns and possible smoke inhalation but was “holding its own,” he said.

Jillson said the dogs were being sheltered, at least temporarily, because the Lewins did not have any children. They also did not have any family members in the area, he said.  

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