NEW YORK — The family of a woman who was electrocuted outside her home during Hurricane Sandy is suing Con Edison, saying the utility company should have shut the power before the deadly storm and maintained the wires.
Lauren Abraham, 23, was killed after tripping over a power line that had been knocked down by winds and then stepping in a puddle in front of her Richmond Hill home, police and neighbors said.
Abraham had gone outside to shoot iPhone video of the historic hurricane.
Her family's lawyer, Doug Wigdor of Thompson Wigdor LLP, said Abraham burst into flames once she made contact with the wire and burned to death in front of her friends and neighbors.
The suit says Con Ed safety measures such as burying overhead power lines and deactivating power before the storm could protect residents of New York City and could have saved Abraham's life.
"There could be no dispute that Con Ed was aware of Hurricane Sandy's approach, and the potential for damage to its above ground and aging power lines," Wigdor said.
Wigdor also said the lines didn't appear to be properly maintained since they fell after sustained winds of only 56 mph, which is less than the wind speed in a tropical storm.
Abraham's mother, Kim Tinnin, was working a double shift at the Jewish Home for the Elderly in Fairfield, Conn. as the storm arrived in New York.
She said she found out about her daughter's death the day after the storm, when Abraham's boyfriend called to ask if it was true.
"I had to travel from Fairfield to New York to discover that it was true," she said, adding that she didn't hear from the NYPD or Con Ed about her daughter's death.
Her neighbors were waiting for her and greeted her in front of her home.
"And that's what I walked into," she said. "The driveway with the charred remains. The smell. And that it was true. That's how I found out."
Wigdor said the family is seeking an unspecified amount of money for damages.
A Con Ed spokesman said that the power company will "address the matter in court."