NEW YORK — The mother of a New York City woman who was electrocuted by a downed power line during Superstorm Sandy filed a wrongful death lawsuit Wednesday against Con Edison, alleging the utility failed to shut down the electricity before the storm hit.
Lauren Abraham, 23, “burned alive, writhing and screaming” for 30 minutes while her neighbors and friends watched helplessly, unable to touch her because the wire was still live, the complaint says.
Abraham, a makeup artist, was killed Oct. 29 when she walked outside of her Queens home to take photographs.
“The flames grew so large that one neighbor did not even realize that a person was being burned,” the family’s lawyers, Douglas Wigdor and Derek Sells, wrote in the complaint. They represent Abraham’s mother, Kim Tinnin, and father, Allan Abraham.
The complaint accuses the power utility of negligence and seeks unspecified damages. It says emergency personnel had to watch Abraham burn while Con Edison took about two hours to shut down the source of electricity to the power line.
Abraham, who went by the nickname LolaDiva on YouTube, worked out of a studio in her parents’ Queens home. The recent beauty school graduate was studying at City University of New York’s Lehman College, according to her Facebook page.
Con Edison spokesman Bob McGee said the company had not yet been served with a file copy of the complaint.
“This was a tragedy caused by Superstorm Sandy,” McGee said. “We’ll address the matter in court.”
The National Hurricane Center said 72 people died as a direct result of Sandy last year. In New York, Con Edison strung 60 miles of new electrical cable after the storm and eventually restored power to more than 1 million customers.