Some of Hurricane Irene’s 46 fatalities...August 31, 2011


Although most of the storm’s deaths were directly the result of the storm’s high winds and torrential downpours, a number of the fatalities were clearly avoidable. And sadly, this is sometimes the case in most disasters, where the victims’ poor choices ultimately factored into their deaths. 

From faulty generators to ill-advised storm-surfing, some questionable decisions clearly had dire consequences. But overal, the random nature of most the casualties is quite startling. Here is a state-by-state listing of the cause of death of each victim. Some will surprise you. The information is derived from law enforcement agencies, emergency officials and family members.

CONNECTICUT: 2 — Charlotte Levine, 89, dies in Prospect after fallen power lines set house on fire. — Shane Seaver, 46, dies in Bristol after canoe capsizes on flooded street.

DELAWARE: 2 — Christopher Valentine, 25, of Hockessin, and Jean Baptista, 25, of Clark, N.J., die while running outside in Hockessin during the storm. Police don’t suspect foul play.

FLORIDA: 1— Frederick Fernandez, 55, dies after being tossed off surfboard off New Smyrna Beach in Volusia County.

MAINE: 2— Lewis Somers III, 85, and his wife, Elizabeth Somers, 84, both of Lafayette Hill, Pa., die in their summer home in Raymond, where a generator had been running and carbon monoxide readings were high.

MARYLAND: 2— Won Koo Sung, 48, dies at his Ellicott City home of carbon monoxide poisoning produced by generators. — Anne Bell, 85, dies in Queen Anne’s County when tree falls onto sunroom.

MASSACHUSETTS: 1— Richard Gorgone, 52, is electrocuted by downed power lines in Southbridge.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: 1— Man dies in Wolfeboro after tree falls on him.

NEW JERSEY: 7— Cesar Ortiz, 47, dies after being sucked into a drain pipe while cleaning debris at a nursery in Lawrence Township.— Michael Kenwood, an emergency medical technician, dies after being knocked over by floodwaters in Princeton. — Celena Sylvestri, 20, of Quinton, dies in flooded car in Pilesgrove. — Ronald Dawkins, 47, dies after abandoning his partially submerged vehicle. — Scott Palecek, 39, dies in Wanaque when pipe breaks and sweeps him away. — Jorge Hernandez, 25, of Point Pleasant Beach, and another man are found dead in a Manasquan River inlet.

NEW YORK: 10 — Harold Butler Jr., 52, of Hewitt, N.J., dies in the town of Tuxedo after his vehicle becomes disabled on a flooded road. — Stephen Terleckey, 72, dies after being swept into Schoharie Creek. — Rozalia Gluck, 82, of Brooklyn, drowns in a cottage in Fleischmanns. — A man in his 50s is electrocuted in Spring Valley while trying to help a child in a flooded street. — Sharon Stein, 68, drowns in a creek in New Scotland while evacuating home. — Joseph Rocco, 68, of East Islip, drowns while windsurfing in Bellport Bay. — A man dies after his inflatable boat capsizes on the Croton River. — Jose Sierra, 68, of the Bronx, dies after falling into a marina. — Mikita Fox and Danine Swamp, 23, die in Altona after their vehicle plunges off a damaged bridge.

NORTH CAROLINA: 6 — Katherine Morales Cruz, 15, of Manassas Park, Va., dies in Goldsboro in a collision at intersection where power lights were knocked out. — Ricky Webb, 63, of the Nashville area, dies after a tree limb falls on him. — Tim Avery, 50, dies in Ayden after a tree falls on his home. — Jose Manuel Farabia Corona, 21, of Dover, dies in a Pitt County traffic accident as Irene makes landfall. — Sabrina Anne Jones, 26, of Clinton, dies in Sampson County when a tree falls on the car she’s in. — Melton Robinson Jr. dies after falling or jumping into the Cape Fear River.

PENNSYLVANIA: 5 — Michael Scerarko, 44, dies Sunday when a tree fell on him in his yard.— Walter J. “Gator” Bruder, 59, of Harrisburg, dies when a tree topples onto his camping tent. — Richard C. Shotwell, 41, of Wilkes-Barre, dies when a tree falls on his camper in Luzerne Country. — Jason Dahms, 39, of Hellertown, dies in an accident in heavy rain on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Carbon County. — Patricia O’Neill, 64, of East Norriton, is found dead in the Wissahickon Creek a half-mile from her car.

VERMONT: 3— Michael Joseph Garofano, 55, a Rutland city worker, is found dead after checking on water supply in nearby Mendon. — A woman is found dead in the Deerfield River in Wilmington after falling in while watching the flooding.— A man is found dead in Lake Rescue in Ludlow.

VIRGINIA: 4— Zahir Robinson, 11, dies in Newport News when a tree falls on his home.— James Blackwell, 67, of Brodnax, dies when a tree falls on a car in Brunswick County.— A man dies at a Hopewell hospital after a tree falls on a house he’s in. — William P. Washington, 57, dies when a tree falls on him.