8th East Harlem explosion victim identified - KMSP-TV

8th East Harlem explosion victim identified

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) - The New York City Medical Examiner ruled that deaths of all eight victims of the East Harlem gas leak explosion last week were accidental.

The victims died of either blunt trauma, smoke inhalation or burns, said officials on Monday.

The eighth victim was identified on Monday as Mayumi Nakamura, 34. Her family reportedly flew in from Japan to confirm her identity.

The massive gas leak explosion leveled two buildings in East Harlem on Wednesday morning.

Several websites are now accepting donations to help victims of the explosion and the families of those killed.

The victims:

1. Sgt. Griselde Camacho, 44, a public safety officer at the Hunter College campus in East Harlem
2. Carmen Tanco, 67, a dental assistant, lived on the second floor of 1644 Park Ave.
3. Rosaura Hernandez-Barrios, 21, a cook at Triomphe at the Iroquois Hotel, lived in 1644 Park Ave.
4. Rosaura Barrios, 44, the mother of Rosaura Hernandez-Barrios, also lived in 1644 Park Ave.
5. Andreas Panagopoulos, 43, a musician, lived in 1646 Park Ave.
6. George Ameado, 44, lived in 1646 Park Ave.
7. Alexis Salas, 22, lived in 1644 Park Ave.
8. Mayumi Nakamura, 34, of Japan.


-- CARMEN TANCO

Carmen Tanco was a longtime member of the Bethel Gospel Assembly, located in a building a few blocks from the scene of Wednesday's explosion.

Associate Pastor Gordon Williams said Tanco "was known as `Auntie' to just about everybody."

The 67-year-old dental hygienist had gone on medical missions with the church to South Africa, Nigeria and the Dominican Republic. She had been planning to return to the Dominican Republic in July for another mission.

Williams said Tanco told him she was planning to take a little bottle filled with coins on the trip to give to children or anyone else who might need them.

"She was always looking to bless and help and be there," he said.

One of Tanco's cousins, Angel Vargas, said Tanco moved to New York from Puerto Rico around 1970. He said she had been married and divorced and had no children.

Vargas said Tanco was a cherished presence at family gatherings over the years.

"She was always that person who would get up and dance and have fun with everyone," he said. "She was the life of the party.

-- GRISELDE CAMACHO

Griselde Camacho had been a member of the Bethel Gospel Assembly for about six years, officials said.

Camacho, 45, a public safety officer at Hunter College, volunteered as an audio-visual technician at the church, operating the PowerPoint presentations during Bishop Carlton T. Brown's sermons.

Brown said Camacho "was always seeking to do her best, eager to serve, eager to please."

Hunter College President Jennifer Raab called Camacho "a well-liked member of our community, a respected officer and a welcoming presence at our Silberman building."

Camacho was a single mother of a teenage son, said Ruth-Ann Wynter, director of ministry relations at Bethel.

-- ANDREAS PANAGOPOULOS

Liseth Perez-Almeida had to frequently catch her breath as she spoke about the life and death of her husband, Andreas Panagopoulos, a musician who played guitar and keyboard and worked from their East Harlem home for an online site that manages a film and photography directory.

The couple had been together for 13 years and married for eight, she said, her voice soft faltering as she spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday. "He was the smartest person ... he was so special."

Perez-Almeida left for work earlier than usual on Wednesday and had been in Brooklyn when she heard about the blast at Park Avenue and 116th Street.

"I started calling him on the phone" with no answer, she said. Throughout the night, friends went to hospital emergency rooms in hopes that Panagopoulos would be there.

"We spent all night trying to find him, all the hospitals," said Evangelos Alkimos, a friend of Panagopoulos'. "We don't want to think he is dead."

Perez-Almeida even went to one hospital thinking her husband was there, only to face the bitter disappointment of not finding him.

Authorities delivered the bad news to her on Thursday.

Perez-Almeida and Panagopoulos used to go to Greece, his native country, every summer. She plans to take his body there for burial.

-- ROSAURA HERNANDEZ

Rosaura Hernandez Barrios worked at Triomphe Restaurant in the Iroquois Hotel as a line cook.

Hotel general manager Robert Holmes called Hernandez's death "truly a terrible loss."

Holmes said the 22-year-old was at the restaurant just under two years. He said she started as an intern and became a line cook when a position opened up.

He said she was "calm, cool and collected" in the demanding restaurant environment.

Mexico's counsel general in New York said Hernandez was born in the United States. Her body will be flown to Mexico City at the government's expense.

--ROSAURA BARRIOS VAZQUEZ

Rosaura Barrios Vazquez, 43, was the mother of Rosaura Hernandez.

Mexico's counsel general said she was born in the state of Puebla. The family's relatives now live in Ciudad Serdan, Puebla.

Counsel General Sandra Fuentes Berain said the bodies of both victims will be flown to Mexico City at the government's expense.

Displaced residents were initially told to go to P.S. 57 at E. 117th St. to register for assistance from the Red Cross. On Thursday, the relief agency announced the reception center had been relocated to The Salvation Army at 175 E. 125th St. (between Third Ave. and Lexington Ave.).

On Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced those in temporary sheltering would be moved to apartment-type settings. 

64 people were housed there Wednesday night and were provided meals and emotional support.

"Some folks are still trying to track down loved ones. We are working closely with the police department to provide that information.. We are feeding these folks over the coming hours and helping them figure out sheltering," said a Red Cross representative.
New Yorkers have been eager to help those affected by the deadly explosion.

A fundraising website has been set up for the widow of the Andreas Panagopoulos, the Greek musician who was killed in the blast.

And Hunter College is raising money to help the family of Griselda Comacho, the mother and peace officer who died in the explosion.

Here is a list of web sites accepting donations:

Help Liseth Perez

Griselde Camacho Memorial Fund

Spanish Christian Church Harlem


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