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Recovery continues as another victim is named

Facebook photo of Rosaura Hernandez. Hernandez was one

Facebook photo of Rosaura Hernandez. Hernandez was one of the victims of an explosion on 116th Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan on March 12, 2014. Photo Credit: Facebook

Up until the moment she was killed in an explosion of wood, steel and brick, the life of East Harlem's Rosaura Hernandez-Barrios appeared to be playing out just as she had mentally sketched it.

Hernandez-Barrios, 21, eager and ambitious, worked as a well-regarded line cook at a French restaurant in the heart of Manhattan's theater district. She had just gotten engaged, according to a social media website. In fact, Hernandez-Barrios' February engagement was a perfect blend of two things she loved -- her work and her fiance: Her groom-to-be dropped to one knee in the kitchen of the restaurant, Triomphe, and proposed last month, according to the same post.

"It is a sad day," said Triomphe general manager Robert Holmes Thursday. "Our kitchen staff is taking it very hard."

Holmes said he knew quickly that Hernandez-Barrios was a gifted chef-in-training.

"We recognized her raw talent, so when a position opened up we offered it to her," Holmes said.

On her Facebook page Thursday night, friends wrote of their grief in English and Spanish and left notes telling their friend to "chef it up in heaven for the rest of us."

Hernandez-Barrios was confirmed dead yesterday and last night the body of her mother, Rosaura Barrios, 44, was identified, the NYPD said.

Naming the pair was the latest in what has been a slow and tedious process for rescuers at the still-smoldering Park Avenue pile where two apartment buildings were destroyed in Wednesday morning's gas explosion.

By Friday morning, police had identified Alexis Salas, 22, as the seventh victim. In addition to Salas, Hernandez-Barrios and Barrios, the other victims have been named as Andreas Panagopoulos, 43, George Ameado, 44, Carmen Tanco, 67, and Griselde Camacho, 44.

Survivors of the blast, now homeless, were being helped by the American Red Cross. As of yesterday they had registered 119 people -- 28 families -- to sleep at the Salvation Army facility at East 125th Street and Third Avenue last night.

Thursday night, the grim numbers and mood hadn't changed much from earlier in the day: eight dead, and unknown number still missing, even as more people killed were named.

Meanwhile, relatives of other possible victims continued an agonizing wait for information.

Thursday night, clergy from the nearby Bethel Gospel Assembly gathered for a prayer vigil to honor the women. They each held day jobs but spent their off hours and weekends volunteering at the church, just blocks away from where they died.

Tanco, a dental hygienist, church usher, and member of the food services ministry, was often seen strolling to church with a shopping cart full of food for the elderly, said Ruth-Ann Wynter, director of ministry relations at the church.

Wynter said Camacho, a sergeant in Hunter College's public safety office and the mother of a teenage son, was part of the church's video department.

"These were not members on the periphery," she said.

Tanco was born in Puerto Rico and arrived in New York City when she was 18, said her cousin Diana Cortez, 56.

Cortez said her cousin had a dedication to helping others and a weakness for carrot cake.

"She had the biggest heart in the world," Cortez said of Tanco.


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