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Eighth victim ID’d in Harlem blast; electric company faces suit

Posted at 1:16 PM, Mar 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-18 13:21:44-04

NEW YORK (CNN) — Police have identified the eighth and final victim of a gas explosion in New York’s East Harlem last week.

Mayumi Nakamura, 34, lived in apartment No. 4 at 1646 Park Ave., according to police, the northernmost of the two buildings leveled by explosion and fire March 12.

Her body was recovered from the rubble Thursday night, police said, but identification took longer because her family had to travel from Japan to confirm her identity.

The other seven victims have been identified as Carmen Tanco, 67; Alexis “Jordy” Salas, 22; Griselde Camacho, 44; Rosaura Hernandez, 21; Andreas Panagopoulos, 43; George Ameado, 44; and Rosaura Barrios, 44.

Julie Bolcer, spokeswoman for the city’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, said the victims died of smoke inhalation or physical trauma.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit has been filed in state Supreme Court in the name of Michelle Nelson, 46, who said she was injured in the blast.

The complaint alleges that electric provider Con Edison was aware of potentially unsafe conditions of gas mains on the property and neglected to act.

“This is the first of what will be many more,” attorney Michael Lamonsoff said. “You have Con Ed on notice for years that their gas lines are extremely old … especially in this area.”

The lawsuit also names Kaoru Murmatsu, owner and superintendent of the building.

“We’re working with the City, the Salvation Army and the Red Cross to assist the affected families with their expenses in the wake of the tragedy. We will review the filing at an appropriate time,” said Bob McGee, a spokesman for Con Edison.

Eric Weiss, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, which has jurisdiction over pipeline accidents, said the agency plans to release an investigative update Tuesday.

CNN’s Julia Lull & Ray Sanchez contributed to this report.

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