More than three dozen people are believed to have died in the blizzard that hit western New York over the weekend, and families are beginning to speak of the tragic losses.
From 37 confirmed deaths17 people were found outside, nine were in a house without heating, four were in a vehicle, four were from cardiac events while shoveling or blowing snow and three were from a delay in medical services emergency, according to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. .
Poloncarz said 29 of the deaths occurred in the city of Buffalo, seven in the suburbs and one is unknown. There are several unidentified bodies, he noted, and authorities are still going door to door checking people.
Here are some of the victims and their stories.
STORM BUFFALO TOLL INCREASES:Were the deaths preventable?
Buffalo’s mother went out on Christmas Eve
Monique Alexander, 52, told her daughter she would be back when she goes out on Christmas Eve, CNN reported. His body was discovered a few hundred meters from his house.
“We were waiting for her to come home,” Alexander’s daughter, Casey Maccarone, told CNN. “I knew straight away that something was wrong, so I kind of accepted it instantly, but it’s hard to know she was out for that long, because no rescuers were there. allowed out.”
Maccarone told the outlet that she became concerned when her mother failed to return hours later and posted the situation on a Facebook group for Buffalo residents. It was then that a stranger saw the post and informed Maccarone that he had seen Alexander in the snow.
“My kids lost their grandmother, and that was her most important role in her life…being a good grandmother,” Maccarone told CNN. “And now they only have memories.”
A Congolese refugee froze in the street
Abdul Sharifu, 26, a Congolese refugee, left his home to buy milk and food and was discovered hours later on the sidewalk, The Washington Post reported.
Sharifu grew up amid the Congo war, which left both parents dead, the outlet reported. He and his cousin fled as young boys, spent years in a Burundian refugee camp and finally reached the United States in 2017, the outlet reported.
They were placed in Buffalo, where Sharifu met his wife there and was expecting his first child, the outlet reported.
When Sharifu still hadn’t returned the next day, friends and neighbors fanned out and searched for more than 12 hours, visiting grocery stores, corner markets, hospitals and even prisons, the Post reported.
STORM UPDATES:Deaths rise to 37 as National Guard checks homes in Buffalo; joint investigation into widespread blackouts
A refugee from Poland got stuck in her car
Stanislawa Jozwiak, 73, was driving to a market across town on Friday when her car veered off the road, The Washington Post reported. Her body was found inside the car on Christmas Day.
Jozwiak’s daughter, Edie Syta, told the outlet that her mother (who is not fluent in English) may not understand the severity of the storm warnings.
“So many families are going to be broken up,” Syta said. “And they will never see Christmas the same way again.”
The woman was minutes from home
Anndel Taylor, 22, was a six-minute drive from her home on Friday when she got stranded, CNN reported. She was coming home from work in a center for the elderly.
Taylor had moved to Buffalo from Charlotte, North Carolina, the outlet reported. When she found herself trapped, she sent a video to a group chat with her sisters, showing them she was stuck, CNN reported.
Taylor called 911 and was waiting for first responders, the outlet reported. She sent one last video to her family on Christmas Eve, CNN said, and her family panicked when she stopped responding to messages and calls.
His body was removed from the car the next day, the outlet reported.
“I really couldn’t believe it,” Tomeshia Brown, one of Taylor’s older sisters, told CNN. “It was like a piercing sensation in my stomach, a pain I had never felt before.”