Finger-Pointing Begins as Families Reel from Storm Tragedies

By Katy Tur
|  Friday, Jan 7, 2011  |  Updated 9:38 AM EDT
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The Blizzard of 2010: Dogs in the Snow

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Blame Game Begins as Families Reel from Storm Tragedies

The blame game is heating up as the EMS Union President is now calling out Mayor Bloomberg for his response to the storm.
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The blame game is heating up as the EMS Union President is now calling out Mayor Bloomberg for his response to the storm. But regardless of who is at fault, the tragedies that have resulted from the poor reaction are still being felt.

NBC New York visited just one street in Corona, Queens where the unthinkable happened not once but twice.

Lauren Ffreeman mothers died while waiting for an ambulance.

“She passed away on my couch” Freeman says. “I was holding her and a couple people from the block were helping me.”

One of her Christmas presents still sits unopened in what’s now a makeshift memorial. Lauren Freeman says her mother, Yvonee, passed away while she tried for an hour to get through to 911 and then after waiting another two hours for an ambulance during the height of the storm on Monday.

“Where were the plows?” asked Freeman. “Where was anybody for that matter? Where was 911?”

Then on the same block in Corona, Queens on Wednesday - two days after the snow stopped - three-month-old, Addison Reinoso lost consciousness. The ambulance responded relatively quickly but got stuck in the snow during transport to Elmhurst Hospita.

Addison's father said he and EMS workers had to run the baby the rest of the way. But Addison was already brain dead – he was taken off life support a week later. Jose Peralta is the state senator for Corona and Elmhurst, an area he says got ignored.

“We don’t need a scapegoat”, said Peralta. “We don’t have answers we need answers.”

Still let the “scapegoating” begin. Sanitation workers claimed City Hall didn't give them the necessary man-power. City Hall blamed the emergency medical service – and now EMS President Patrick Bahnken pointing the finger right back at Mayor Bloomberg.

“I don’t expect this guy [Mayor Bloomberg] to show up at battalions and pin medals on my members, despite the fact that he should but a simple thank you would do” spat Bahnken.

The FDNY said that when Lauren Freeman was calling for help, the 911 phone lines were experiencing a deluge of calls and a backlog of more than a thousand requests for help. Adding, while that the snow was crippling their response on Monday things remained so bad with cleanup that it continued to be a hindrance on Wednesday - by the time Addison Reinoso stopped breathing.

If you would like to help the Reinoso family you can send a check to the Addison Reinoso Fund and include the account number: 4255593711. Checks can be dropped off at any TD Bank branch or mailed to or dropped off at State Sen. Jose Peralta’s office:

Addison Reinoso Fund
C/O State Senator Peralta’s office
32-37 Junction Blvd.
East Elmhurst, N.Y., 11369

You can follow Katy on Twitter @katytur4ny

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