Thursday, October 02, 2014

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Last Victim Identified in East Harlem Building Explosion

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Another victim in last week's building explosion in East Harlem has been identified as cleanup crews make progress in clearing the basements at the site.

Mayumi Nakamura, 34, is the last of the eight victims to be identified.

The city medical examiner also says autopsy results show that seven of the victims died of either smoke inhalation or blunt trauma.

A wake was held for 44-year-old George Amadeo Monday night.

At the funeral home, one of Amadeo's family members was overcome by grief and had to be taken to the hospital.

His aunt expressed her sadness at his loss.

"He was so...everything, when you talk to him, everything is funny for him. He's always laughing. I've never see him sad," she said.

A funeral for Amadeo will be held Wednesday in the Bronx.

Family members of one of the other victims said their final goodbye on Sunday.

Andreas Panagopoulos, 43, was remembered during a mass on the Upper West Side.

His friends and relatives also gathered in Astoria to share their reflections.

His wife remembered her husband as a talented musician and a loving man.

A funeral for another victim, 67-year-old Carmen Tanco, takes place next Monday.

Meanwhile, two victims have announced their intent to sue.

Two notices of claim were filed, one against the city, the other against Con Edison.

The city and Con Ed said that they will review those notices.

All of the deaths were ruled accidental, but investigators are still trying to pin down the exact cause of the explosion by looking for a possible ignition source, as well as examining gas meters and gas lines.

The incident left more than 60 people injured and as many as 100 displaced.

Donations are piling up at Assemblyman Robert J. Rodriguez's office.

Many of the victims have left emergency shelters and are staying elsewhere, so the difficulty now is getting the supplies to those who need them most.

"We do want East Harlem residents, anybody and everybody who was affected by this disaster, to please come and help themselves to what they need," said Margaret McDermott, Rodriguez's chief of staff.

Staff members say many victims have left emergency shelters, so they're encouraging people to come in and get what they need.

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