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NYC ME: Smoke inhalation, burns caused fire death

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Mon Jul 7, 5:57 PM UTC

NEW YORK (AP) — Smoke inhalation and thermal burns caused the death of a New York City firefighter who perished in a cluttered high-rise apartment building.

But a spokeswoman for the medical examiner's office says Monday the manner of Lt. Gordon Ambelas' (ihm-BEHL'-ihs) death still is under investigation.

Fire officials say the 40-year-old FDNY veteran was overcome with smoke and flames while searching for possible victims Saturday in Brooklyn.

Fire officials declined to detail what happened inside the apartment, citing the ongoing investigation. They've said heavy clutter and debris in apartments make searches difficult and dangerous.

In 14 years on the job, Ambelas helped the city through the recovery from the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and Superstorm Sandy.

He was the first New York City firefighter killed on duty since April 2012.

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