10/31/2012 01:21 pm ET | Updated Oct 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Death Toll In New York City: At Least 24 Dead As Stories Of Heroism, Tragedy Emerge

Hurricane Sandy has killed at least 24 New Yorkers, including an off-duty police officer who drowned rescuing his family, a 13-year-old Staten Island girl who was crushed by debris, and an elderly woman whose oxygen machine lost power, the Associated Press reports.

Officials say they fear the number of lives lost will continue to increase as recovery efforts continue.

According to another Associated Press report from Wednesday morning, at least 59 deaths have already been attributed to the superstorm since it began impacting the East Coast over the weekend. On Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said the storm had left at least six dead in New Jersey.

In New York City, stories of heroism and tragedy are beginning to emerge.

Police officer Artur Kasprzak, 28, died after rescuing his family from rising floodwaters. Kasprzak drowned in his Staten Island home after getting six members of his family -- including his 15-month-old son and his father -- to safety.

Kasprzak, who had been assigned to the 1st Precinct in Manhattan and is a six-year veteran of the NYPD, has been hailed a hero. His sacrifice, reads an earlier Huffington Post report, will "likely not be forgotten."

Also on Staten Island, an eighth-grade student identified as Angela Dresch was found dead under a pile of debris, the Staten Island Advance reports. The 13-year-old was killed after a "catastrophic wave" crashed into her home. The girl's mother is in critical condition, and her father has yet to be found.

"She was a really nice girl," said schoolmate Christian Palumbo, who described Dresch as a "sweetheart." "One of the nicest kids you could meet."

In Brooklyn, a young couple were reportedly hit by a tree while walking their dog. Jessie Streich-Kest and Jacob Vogelman, both in their early 20s, had been walking in Ditmas Park when they died. Their dog, Max, survived and is being treated at an emergency veterinarian hospital.

In Queens, a 23-year-old woman named Lauren Abraham was electrocuted after stepping in water near a live wire, the Associated Press reports. She had reportedly been taking photos of a power line that had caught fire with her cell phone at the time.

Elsewhere, a 75-year-old Manhattan woman died after her oxygen machine lost power, and at least four people in the Rockaways reportedly drowned, according to the New York Daily News.

A grad student at St. John's University named Anthony Laino was also killed after a tree crashed into his home. He was reportedly "in the bedroom on his couch" when the fatal incident occurred.

The newspaper adds that there are several people still reported missing, including two toddlers -- aged 2 and 4 -- who were separated from their mother when her car was submerged on Staten Island.

11/04/2012 12:26 AM EDT

PHOTO: A Marathon Wedding Proposal, Minus The Marathon

HuffPost's Katie Bindley reports:

Like all the competitors who trained for the 2012 NYC Marathon, Hannah Vahaba will not be running the race this year. But she also will never forget her moment at the finish line. After traveling in from Atlanta, Vahaba picked up a marriage proposal in Central Park on Saturday without having to traverse the 26.2-mile course.

"This is my fiance," said Vahaba, 31, who had tears running down her face as she stood in Central Park where the race would have ended, just moments after Martin O'Donoghue had proposed.

marriage proposal cancelled nyc marathon

Photo by Damon Scheleur

Read the full story here.

11/04/2012 12:25 AM EDT

Check Donation Lists

Be sure to check donation lists to see what items are needed. For example, at one Staten Island donation center, there is a critical need for batteries batteries batteries, candles, matches, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, pet food, baby supplies, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner. Clothing isn't needed as much at that center.

-Catharine Smith, HuffPost

11/03/2012 10:42 PM EDT

Brooklyn Regions Still Lack Electricity, Heat and Water Days After Storm

HuffPost's Tim Stenovec reports:

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which killed at least 48 people in New York when it battered the Northeast last week, frustrated residents in this corner of South Brooklyn are coping without electricity, heat and running water.

Read the full story here.

11/03/2012 10:18 PM EDT

On Long Island, Cuomo demands Accountability from Utilities

Huntington Patch reports:

At a massive food distribution event at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, Cuomo said power has been restored to 60 percent of the New York metropolitan area.

LIPA reported Saturday evening that 460,000 customers remained without power, down from more than 900,000 initially.

"I've warned the utility companies repeatedly they operate under a state charter, essentially," Cuomo said. "The utility companies are not happy with my warning and frankly, I don't care."

"The customers are not happy. The bill payers are not happy and the people without power are not happy," Cuomo said. "People are suffering. It is an issue of safety and if the utilities were not prepared we will hold them accountable."

Read the full story on Huntington Patch.

11/03/2012 9:38 PM EDT

Gasoline Shortage Likely To Last For Several More Days

Even as power returns to parts of the region assailed by Hurricane Sandy, millions of drivers seeking gasoline appear likely to face at least several more days of persistent shortages.

Read the full story here.

11/03/2012 8:50 PM EDT

Behind @ConEdison: The 27 Year-Old Preventing Panic, One Tweet At A Time

HuffPost's Bianca Bosker:

On Saturday, 27-year-old Kate Frasca was manning Con Edison’s Twitter account, @ConEdison, responding to customers’ frustrations, questions, praise and criticism at an average clip of one tweet every six minutes.

Read the full story here.

11/03/2012 8:35 PM EDT

Estimate Says 600 Million Gallons Of Water Hit Mass Transit System


Roughly 600 M gallons of storm water infiltrated the nation’s busiest and oldest underground mass transit system...

11/03/2012 8:15 PM EDT

$12 Million Donated So Far To NYC Mayor's Fund For Recovery

@ MikeBloomberg :

If you would like to donate: visit So far $12 million has been contributed. 100% of funds go to #Recovery efforts.

11/03/2012 7:52 PM EDT

Don't Touch Downed Power Lines

@ usNWSgov :

Post #Sandy reminders: never touch a downed power line or anything touching one. Washing your hands prevents illness. #NWS #CDC

11/03/2012 7:17 PM EDT

Volunteers Arrive In Staten Island

@ NYCMayorsOffice :

Volunteers Descend on Staten Island Neighborhood