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EAST HARLEM (PIX11) – More than 24 hours after the deadly blast that rocked the predominantly Spanish neighborhood of East Harlem, those affected joined religious leaders with hopes that the power of faith will help fuel the power of healing.

PIX 11 News caught up with the Rev. Thomas Perez minutes after a prayer meeting Thursday morning.  Rev. Perez lost his Spanish Christian Church as well as a handful of dedicated parishioners.  When PIX 11 News asked Rev. Perez if he questioned what happened, the man of faith simply said, “Not at all. God knows what he is doing and life happens and we know that they are in a better place.”

A block away from where the search and recovery continued PIX 11 News found Elena Robles.  The 68-year-old conveyed in her native Spanish how she is not her usual self and is not well.  She lost everything in the explosion. In fact she was only left with the clothes on her back.  Her apartment shares a wall with one of the buildings.  She was told that everything inside was destroyed not only by the blast but also by the sprinkler system that went off.

Robles says there were many things there, many memories. Uninsured, she faces the overwhelming task of rebuilding at an age when she should be enjoying retirement.  This said she feels lucky. The reason?  Where she was at the time of the explosion: “The doctor.”

Call it blind luck or divine intervention, regardless, Robles is convinced that the appointment saved her life.