A second person has died following a propane explosion that razed a Long Island home last week, killing an 18-month-old boy and injuring more than a dozen others, authorities say.
Police say Patricia Salegna-Maqueda, 46, died Tuesday night at Stony Brook University Medical Center. She was a representative from State Farm Insurance who was at the Brentwood home regarding a flooding claim when the explosion occurred Aug. 14. She suffered severe burns.
On Wednesday, more than 100 people mourned little Rah-quan Palm,er who died in the blast. Newsday reported that a Winnie the Pooh doll sat on the boy's lap inside his white casket. Both his parents were too overwhelmed with grief to speak from the stage, Newsday reported.
"He was here for just a moment... Even though he's in heaven, he's not very far," said the boy's grandmother, Gayle Morgan.
The explosion reduced the entire structure to small shards of wood, plywood, drywall, insulation and other materials. Two 200-pound propane gas tanks were on the premises, though no natural gas was present.
Officials are still trying to determine what ignited the gas.
Rah-quan's parents, Christina Morgan, 23, and Rashamel Palmer, 28, were among four other residents who were injured. A plumber, seven police officers, two firefighters and two neighbors also were hurt. Updates on their conditions were not immediately available.
Neighbors described a chaotic scene when the two-story home exploded last week.
"One of them came out, and his clothes were all ripped, his face was all bloody," said Anthony Acevedo. "The mother of the baby that came out, she was bloody and crying, and she kept screaming, 'My baby's in there, my baby's in there.'"
Frank Catalano, a worker with AMS Restoration and Environmental Services, said that a pipe had burst in the house last week, causing a flood.
"There were issues in the house," Catalano said. "The condition wasn't the greatest."
The house had been illegally converted into a rooming house with at least eight rooms, which were being rented for $300 a month, said Inez Birbiglia, a spokeswoman for the town of Islip. The owner of the house was issued 10 summonses for code violations in September 2011 and was given until this October to bring the house into compliance.
Officials condemned the houses on both sides of the explosion, which were badly damaged. Red Cross is helping 19 people find temporary shelter until residents are allowed into homes that were intact but may have been compromised.
Last April, another home in Brentwood exploded. The home was vacant at the time and no one was injured, though 21 people from neighboring homes were taken to the hospital for evaluation.
A gas leak was believed to have caused that explosion.
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