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Fire Officials: Kids playing with matches started deadly fire on Dudley Ave.

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Utica fire officials say the fire that tore through 1508 Dudley Ave. Sunday, March 9, killing a 6-month-old baby girl, was set, but they're declaring it accidental in nature.
 
"During the interview process it has been determined that the origin and cause falls in the realm of a juvenile case. As such, we're limited in on the amount of information we can give out. What we can tell you is that juveniles did have access to matches and lit the bed on fire," says City Fire Marshal Gerald Foster.
 
Both state and local fire investigators worked on the cause and origin.  Foster says they ruled out every other possible cause; everything else in the infant's room that could start a fire. 
   
City leaders credited Councilman Jerome McKinsey, who lives nearby, with mobilizing resources from the Muslim community to support the Mkoma family; things like translators and religious leaders.  Mayor Robert Palmieri says witnessing the fire and having to notify the family that their baby girl did not survive were the toughest things he's ever had to do in his entire career with the city. 
  
I can only say at this point my heart goes out to the family. The community. A loss of life is something that you never get over.....I hope this little angel is up in the heavens at this point, looking down on us so this tragedy will never ever happen again."
  

At the start of the press conference at Utica City Hall, officials said they would not be taking questions afterward. 

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