The Feb. 25 fire that killed two people in Cheektowaga remains under investigation, but police may have to close the case with the cause being listed as “undetermined.”

“We’re still on it, but it looks like it’s probably going to be undetermined,” Lt. Thomas S. Wentland said this week.

“We don’t make a determination unless we can rule out anything else.”

Among the leads pursued in the investigation were that the victims were smokers and that oxygen tanks had been used in the rented home at 27 Furlong Road.

The victims subsequently were identified by police as Charlotte E. Norton, 58, and James G. Conley, 62.

Autopsies performed by the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that Norton, whose body was found in a back room, died from smoke inhalation and that Conley, whose body was found near the front door, died from burns.

Authorities had to rely on DNA to positively identify Conley; a sister living out of state provided a sample, according to Wentland.

Both Norton and Conley previously lived at various locations on Buffalo’s West Side for a number of years.

Norton was born in Albany and was a graduate of Buffalo State College. She was a painter, silkscreen and stained-glass artist.


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