Local death brings Irene’s toll to 42 lives
SHREWSBURY, Massachusetts – Just as I continue to make each report about the recent storm my last here at the Shrewsbury Lantern, comes news that really deserves to be printed. As many of us here were talking about the “non-event” that Irene proved to be for us, we learned of a fatality reported yesterday here in Central Massachusetts – a grim reminder that while Shrewsbury may have been spared the worst of the storm, others were far less fortunate. In Southbridge, Richard Gorgone, 52, was found by his girlfriend, having been electrocuted outside his home by a downed power line. According to a report in todays T&G, a high voltage line knocked down by a tree landed on Mr. Gorgone’s roof, electrifying the handrail of his front steps. The report indicated that the victim was killed when he stepped out of his home and touched the railing. Our sympathies go out to his family and friends. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.
This local tragedy was the only reported Massachusetts fatality, but joined a grim list of forty-two people killed across the nation by this storm, and reminds us that the preparations we did that seemed like overkill to some, were, in fact what was needed to keep us safe. Below is a list of fatalities by state, reposted from MSN and AP.
Fatalities by state:
— In Bristol, 46-year-old Shane Seaver died after he and another man went canoeing down a flooded street and the canoe capsized. Seaver’s body washed ashore late Sunday night in Plainville. The other man survived.
— In Prospect, 89-year-old Charlotte Levine was killed early Sunday when a falling tree limb pulled power lines onto her house and started a fire.
— Authorities say the bodies of Christopher Valentine, 25, and Jean Baptista, 25, were found in Mill Creek in Hockessin, NBC Philadelphia reported Monday. According to the report, police said the men were walking home from a friend’s house around midnight Saturday during the storm.
— In Volusia County, 55-year-old Frederick Fernandez died Saturday off New Smyrna Beach after he was tossed off his board by massive waves caused by Irene. The Orlando Sentinel reports the high school teacher had a large cut on his head, apparently from hitting the sea floor.
Story: Flooding, cleanup and outages well after Irene
— In Flagler County, 55-year-old tourist James Palmer of New Jersey died Saturday in rough surf. Family members say they lost sight of him after he waded into the surf in North Florida. He was pulled to shore and his wife attempted CPR, but he was pronounced dead at the hospital.
— In Queen Anne’s County, 85-year-old Anne Bell was killed when a tree knocked a chimney through the glass roof of the sunroom where she and her son were sitting. They’d gone out into the sunroom after the power went out in her Queenstown home. Bell was struck by debris, causing severe trauma.
— A public works employee in Southbridge was electrocuted by a downed power line.
New Jersey: 7
— Michael Kenwood, an emergency medical technician, died of injuries after being knocked over by floodwaters in Princeton.
— Celena Sylvestri, 20, of Quinton called her boyfriend and then 911 early Sunday seeking help getting out of her flooded car in Pilesgrove, police said. Her body was found eight hours later in the vehicle, which was about 150 feet off the road, police said.
— Ronald Dawkins, a 47-year-old postal worker from Orange, died after he abandoned his vehicle when it became partly submerged, then tried to wade through rising water at around 8:30 a.m. Sunday. Witnesses say he stepped into a hidden drainage creek where there was 10 or 12 feet of water.
— Scott Palecek, 39, was walking in Wanaque when a pipe broke loose and swept him away in floodwaters Sunday, police said.
— The body of Jorge Hernandez, 25, of Point Pleasant Beach, was found Monday morning in a Manasquan River inlet jetty. Authorities think he might have gone there to watch the storm.
— The body of another man was found in Manasquan River inlet in Point Pleasant Beach on Monday afternoon. His identity was not immediately determined.
— The death of a seventh person was confirmed Monday evening by Gov. Chris Christie, but details were not immediately available.
New York: 8
— Rozalia Gluck, 82, of Brooklyn, drowned in a cottage in the Catskills community of Fleischmanns that was swamped by floodwaters from a nearby creek.
— A man in his 50s was electrocuted in Spring Valley when he tried to help a child who had gone into a flooded street with downed wires. The child was in very serious condition at Westchester Medical Center’s burn unit, said a spokesman for the Rockland County Emergency Operations Center.
— Sharon Stein, 68, drowned in a creek as she and her husband were evacuating their New Scotland home Sunday afternoon, state police said.
— Police in Suffolk County say 68-year-old Joseph Rocco of East Islip drowned while windsurfing in Bellport Bay.
— One man died after his inflatable boat capsized on the Croton River, police said.
— The body of 68-year-old Jose Sierra, of the Bronx, was pulled out of the water at a marina Sunday afternoon. He accidentally drowned, authorities said.
— The bodies of 23-year-old Mikita Fox and Danine Swamp were pulled from a river in Altona after their vehicle plunged into the water while crossing a storm-damaged bridge.
North Carolina: 6
— Ricky Webb, 63, who lived on a Nash County farm near Nashville, was killed after a tree limb fell on him outside his home Saturday morning, said Capt. Pat Joyner of the Nash County Sheriff’s Office. Webb’s wife reported that he woke up about 5:30 a.m. to go outside and feed his horse as outer bands from the storm brought near hurricane-force gusts inland. He was dead when deputies arrived about 10:15 a.m., Joyner said.
— Katherine Morales Cruz, 15, of Manassas Park, Va., died Saturday afternoon after the SUV carrying her and family members collided with another SUV at an intersection where Hurricane Irene had knocked out power to traffic lights, Goldsboro Police Capt. Theresa Chiero said Monday. The accident happened around 4:15 p.m., hours after the storm’s effects began lashing eastern North Carolina. Cruz was one of four family members thrown from the vehicle; the family was returning to northern Virginia from Myrtle Beach, S.C.
— Tim Avery, 50, was found sitting in a chair facing the television after strong winds toppled a tree onto his Ayden home, Town Manager Adam Mitchell said Monday. A family member checked on Avery on Sunday and found the tree on the house in the Pitt County town.
— In Pitt County, a man died in a traffic accident after his SUV went off a road and twice slammed into trees early Saturday as Irene’s center began to make landfall. Jose Manuel Farabia Corona, 21, of Dover, was killed as he drove along County Home Road, State Highway Patrol 1st Sgt. Marvin Williams said Monday. Troopers aren’t certain what caused Corona’s SUV to leave the road, Williams said. A Highway Patrol spokesman had earlier said the vehicle hit standing water on the road.
— Sabrina Anne Jones, 26, of Clinton, died when a tree fell on a car carrying her, her husband and their young daughter Saturday afternoon in Sampson County, a Highway Patrol spokeswoman said.
— New Hanover County deputies on Sunday afternoon recovered the body of Melton Robinson Jr., who had been missing since falling or jumping into the Cape Fear River as storms from Irene reached North Carolina on Friday night.
— Michael Scerarko, 44, was killed Sunday when a tree fell on him in his yard. Scerarko, of Stroudsburg, pushed his son out of the way but could not get out of the way himself, police said.
— A 58-year-old Harrisburg man was killed Sunday morning when a tree toppled onto his tent, state police said. The man was one of about 20 people at a party on private property in East Hanover Township, Dauphin County, some of whom who decided to sleep outside.
— A man in a camper was crushed by a tree in northeastern Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County, state emergency management officials said. Police found his body shortly before 11 a.m. Sunday.
— A motorist was killed when he lost control of his car on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Carbon County, skidded over an embankment and hit a tree. State officials attributed the accident to the storm.
— The body of 64-year-old Patricia O’Neill, of East Norriton, was discovered Sunday afternoon in the Wissahickon Creek, around a half mile from where her car was found in the flooded waterway. Whitemarsh Township police said her family reported her missing after she didn’t show up at work.
— A woman, 20, died in Wilmington as she stood watching the rising waters. Her body has been recovered.
— Rutland Water Treatment Plant Supervisor Michael Garofano Sr. had been checking Sunday afternoon on a water system intake. His body was recovered Monday. His 25-year-old son, Michael Garofano Jr., had been with him and was still missing.
— Police said another man was found dead in Lake Rescue in Ludlow.
— Newport News authorities report that 11-year-old Zahir Robinson was killed when a large tree crashed through his apartment shortly after noon.
— In Brunswick County, a tree fell across a car Saturday afternoon, killing 67-year-old James Blackwell of Brodnax. The driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
— Chesterfield County police say a man died at a Hopewell hospital Saturday after a tree fell on a house that he was in.
— A King William County man, 57-year-old William P. Washington, was killed when a tree fell on him as he was cutting another tree on Saturday night. Washington was trying to get home at the height of the storm when a fallen tree blocked his path on a road, about four miles from his home, and he and another motorist tried to clear the way.
The Associated Press, Reuters and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.