Family of High-Rise Fire Victim: "Words Cannot Express Magnitude of Grief"

Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014  |  Updated 8:56 AM EDT
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The fire in a high-rise building that killed a man and critically injured his new husband in a Manhattan high-rise building was electrical, caused by an extension cord, the FDNY said. Andrew Siff reports.

NBC 4 New York

The fire in a high-rise building that killed a man and critically injured his new husband in a Manhattan high-rise building was electrical, caused by an extension cord, the FDNY said. Andrew Siff reports.

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Friends and family of the man killed in a Manhattan high-rise fire sparked by an overloaded extension cord say they are mourning his death while continuing to support his husband, who was critically injured in the fire.

Daniel McClung, 27, died and 32-year-old Michael Todd Cohen was hurt after the fire erupted in the 42-story building on West 43rd Street Sunday.

In a statement Tuesday, Cohen's family said: "Words cannot express the magnitude of our grief over this tragedy. As we mourn the loss of Daniel, we simultaneously are surrounding Michael with love, light and support.

"Thank you for the amazing outpouring of love, support and concern. As Michael begins the long road to physical and emotional recovery, we ask for privacy and respect during this impossibly difficult time.”

Funeral services for McClung have not yet been finalized.

Friends have set up an online fund to assist Cohen in his recovery. Donations can also be made to the Northeast Animal Shelter in honor of McClung and their two dogs, Schooner and Georgia, who died in the fire, Cohen's family said.

McClung and Cohen were found in a stairwell near the 31st floor, more than 10 stories above where the fire started on the 20th floor.

The two married in July, according to friends.

FDNY Chief of Operations James Esposito said Monday that there was a Christmas tree in the apartment where the fire began, but it wasn't clear if the cord was somehow connected to the tree in some way.

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