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Construction workers recover woman’s savings, wedding album after Paterson home explosion

PATERSON, N.J. -- Construction workers in Paterson recovered one woman’s life savings in the debris after a gas explosion leveled several homes.

They also found something even more valuable.

“I’m really thankful, so much,” said Laurice Kalyoussef, who lived in one of the demolished homes. Her husband died two years ago. After some careful digging, construction workers were able to return her wedding album to her.

“It make me feel like a little bit better,” she said, holding the album.

“I told them when I started that I lost my mom in November and I said she’s watching over us and we would find it, and we did,” said Bill Vecharello of Vecharello Construction. His company is overseeing the clean up of the three homes that were leveled in the explosion.

What’s more, Vecharello and his crew pulled Kalyoussef’s savings, jewelry and china from the rubble. The fragile set, still intact. It’s the silver lining in a nightmare Kalyoussef cannot wake up from.

“It’s terrible. My god. I couldn't sleep, every hour I wake up and I think of something in the house. And I just sit down, so nervous,” she said.

“I’m really thankful for everything everybody doing for me.”

Carefully sifting is a construction worker who lived in one of the demolished homes. He has not found any of his own belongings, but his spirits are buoyed after finding a bag filled with money, which he returned to his neighbor on Friday morning.

“I’m happy to help everyone. But for me, not yet,” said Mahmoud Ahmad.