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Survivor of East Harlem blast reunites with firefighters who saved her life

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UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (PIX11) — She was pulled from the pile of burning rubble left by the East Harlem blast, and on Friday Carmen Quinones had the opportunity to thank the firefighters from Company One who rescued her.

“Most of all I have to thank all of you, because when you asked if someone was alive, I said ‘yes I’m alive.’ If you weren’t in that place at that time, I wouldn’t be alive now. Thank you,” said the sixty something grandmother.

The emotional reunion took place at Mount Sinai where the woman of faith has made an extraordinary recovery, especially considering her loss. Her 45-year-old daughter, Griselde Camacho, was one of the 8 people killed in the explosion.

reunion

“I’m working. I’m trying to get better. I had to work a lot for so many people, but most of all my Lord,” she said, as her team of doctors, who she also thanked, look on joyfully.

Quinones was rushed to Mount Sinai’s emergency room in critical but stable condition. She was by far the most seriously injured of all 26 people brought there.

“Her mental status started to wane a little bit through the course of the first two hours, which was of concern cause she had this hemorrhage in the brain which could be causing the confusion.

Quinones, who was trapped in the smoky debris for 45 minutes, also suffered a fractured spine, broken arm and lacerations.

Captain Robert Morris said the most challenging part of the rescue was getting her down.

“The footing was bad, visibility poor. We called for a stokes basket which is a basket we transport people in. We were able to package her and pass her down off the pile” he said.

Quinones is expected to be discharged on Monday, and will be staying at the home of her pastor. She’ll continue with physical and psychotherapy, and a blood clot she developed will be monitored.

“I think she has an indomitable spirit. I think she’s a tough person,” said Dr. Peter Staub, a surgeon at Mount Sinai. “I don’t think she’s going to let a building fall on her, and do her in.”