Cause Of Schuylerville Fatal Fire Determined

A Saratoga County man who died in a fire Monday is being remembered as a man who would give you the shirt off his back.

40-year-old Chris Wiley and his dog perished in the flames, and Tuesday, Schuylerville officials say Wiley fell asleep while smoking cigarettes in his Broad Street apartment, causing the fire.

A small memorial continues to grow, as people in his neighborhood remember him not only as a beloved man, but a person to model your life after.

"It just doesn't seem possible yet," says Brenda Wood. "It hasn't hit home that he is no longer with us. It's just a tragedy really."

The small community of Schuylerville is still in shock over Wiley's death, he spent ten years living and working there, leaving what many call a lasting impression on everyone he talked with.

"He would take his shirt off or give you his last penny if he had to," says Wood. "He was very generous with everything."

"It's very true what people say about his kindness and his generosity," adds Reverend Joyce DeVelder. "He would give his last penny."

In addition to working at Byron's Village Market, Wiley was also very involved at the Old Saratoga Reformed Church.

Reverend DeVelder recalls her first memory of Wiley, when he showed up at the front door.

"He introduced himself and from that day on he was apart of our church family," she says.

DeVelder says Wiley always had a smile on his face, no matter what the circumstances.

She and others who knew him say Wiley thought of his friends as his family, making it even harder to walk by the scene of the fire, knowing the tragic way his life ended.

"I'm looking down there right now, and to think he's no longer with us, what a short time," says Wood.

"What he gave us in the short ten years are things to remember," adds Reverend DeVelder. "Someone who really gave of himself and taught us all to pass that on."

While there are no official plans for a funeral service yet, Reverend DeVelder says they are to be expected sometime early next week.