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Live power line electrocutes woman who steps in Richmond Hill puddle

Police tape hangs off an electrical pole near where a 23-year-old woman was electrocuted by a downed power line. Photo by Joe Anuta
TimesLedger Newspapers

Friends and colleagues of a makeup artist were in mourning after the 23-year-old was electrocuted by a downed electrical line in Richmond Hill Monday.

At about 8:30 p.m., just as Superstorm Sandy made landfall in New Jersey, Lauren Abraham was electrocuted when she stepped into a puddle outside her home on 105th Avenue near 134th Street and came into contact with live wires that shocked her, according to the city Police Department.

“Lauren was an individual you would easily gravitate to from her positive energy, which floated throughout the room,” friend Misa McGregor posted on Facebook. “I may have just met her this summer, but when I spoke to her it made me want to push higher for my goals in life. Now how many young people do you know can have such an impact?”

McGregor also posted a short video with pictures of Abraham at work on fashion shoots.

“She was a nice girl,” said neighbor Mohan Mamgal, who along with other nearby residents had been told that Abraham was taking pictures with her cellphone when she came in contact with the downed wires.

After the initial electrocution, Abraham’s body continued to be scorched, according to neighbors as emergency and police responders could only watch helplessly until the power could be shut down by Consolidated Edison.

“She was burned all over,” said neighbor Marie Costa.

It took about two hours for utility crews to turn off power before Abraham’s body could be reached.

“I just saw a big fire, I didn’t know that a person was getting burned,” said neighbor Shaun Harrilall.

Con Ed could not comment on the specific incident.

As of Thursday afternoon, power had still not been restored to the block, and the only evidence that the grisly death had taken place was a black char mark along 105th Avenue.

A spokesman for the utility said downed wires will still pose a danger even days after Sandy leaves the area.

“These kinds of incidents occur when the wires are obscured by debris or they are under water,” said Robert McGee. “We are urging people to stay away from areas where there is obvious damage for fear of exactly this kind of thing occurring again.”

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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