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November 21, 2013

Richfield Springs teacher dies in fire

(Continued)

The fire was reported to Otsego County 911 at about 7 a.m. Saturday, and more than 30 firefighters, led by the Richfield Springs Volunteer Fire Department, responded to the blaze at 40 Walnut St. in the village.

Weingates body was found on the second floor with assistance from a state police K-9 unit, Ritton said.

“It’s a tragic incident,” Ritton said. Without making a specific reference to Saturday’s blaze, he said, any residential fire is an opportunity to raise awareness about the life-saving role of working smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors.

Troopers said an autopsy is being conducted at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady under the direction of Otsego County coroner Michael Fox Jr.

Myers said Weingates was a fixture in the community who was supportive of many charity efforts. She also had a quirky side, he said, and at one time expressed that she wanted everyone at her funeral to wear pajamas and eat popcorn and M&M’S candies.

On Sunday, when the school was open to provide counseling and support services, art materials were available for students to express themselves, Myers said, and one pupil drew a beautiful green M&M’S candy.

Weingates recently had planned a party with her science students to celebrate their achievement collecting the most pennies toward acquiring a new American flag for the school.

The students asked about the party Monday, and Myers reassured them it will go ahead as planned next week. Refreshments will include popcorn and M&Ms, the superintendent said, and students will have a special time to share thoughts about their teacher.

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