Authorities: Fatal Garfield house fire ruled an accident

(AP) - A woman killed in an accidental house fire in northern New Jersey was facing embezzlement charges for allegedly stealing money from a cemetery while serving as its director.



Fire officials tell The Record that the blaze that killed 50-year-old Denise D'Agostino on Sunday night was caused by a malfunctioning appliance on a kitchen counter.



A police officer who was patrolling the streets saw flames coming from the River Drive home. He tried to enter the home, but was pushed back by the flames.



D'Agostino's 19-year-old daughter was treated at a hospital for possible smoke inhalation.



D'Agostino and her former assistant were charged in the alleged embezzlement of $180,000 from St. Mary's Cemetery in Saddle Brook, where D'Agostino had served as director. Both had pleaded not guilty to theft charges.


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