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SWEET AVE. FIRE CLAIMS THE LIFE OF WOMAN, 50

A woman died Tuesday night after a fire in her Sweet Avenue apartment, police said.

The body of Geraldine Gray, 50, was found in a bedroom of her second-floor apartment at 485 Sweet.

A Homicide Bureau detective said there was evidence Mrs. Gray was trying to cook on a space heater in the room. However, she also had a medical condition that could have been a contributing factor to an accidental fire, the detective said.

Mrs. Gray was hospitalized earlier this week, investigators were told.

Firefighters responded to the 7:40 p.m. report of a fire in the 2 1/2 -story frame home, which is a few doors away from Walden Avenue. Patrick Britzzalaro, acting 3rd Battalion chief, said that when he and Engine 18 firefighters arrived, flames were coming from a second-floor window.

Mrs. Gray's body was found during a search of the second floor, which was filled with heavy smoke, the chief said. After firefighters brought her outside and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation, she was taken by ambulance to Erie County Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

The first-floor apartment was vacant. Damage was estimated at $8,000 to the structure and $1,000 to its contents, according to a fire dispatcher.

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