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Fundraising Effort Vastly Exceeds Goal For Man Hurt In High-Rise Fire

Michael Todd Cohen, Daniel McClung

Michael Todd Cohen (left) Daniel McClung on their wedding day last July. McClung was killed and Cohen was seriously injured in a fire at the Strand residential high-rise in Hell’s Kitchen on Jan. 5, 2014. (Credit: Cohen Family)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As of Wednesday evening, friends had raised more than $50,000 toward the recovery of a man whose husband died in a Hell’s Kitchen high-rise fire this past weekend.

Michael Todd Cohen married Daniel McClung in July of last year. On Sunday, McClung, 27, was killed as he fled an extra-alarm fire at the Strand condominium apartment building, at 500 W. 43rd St. near Tenth Avenue.

Cohen, 32, was rushed to the NewYork Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center, and was initially reported in critical condition. He was being treated at the NewYork Presbyterian William Randolph Hearst Burn Center this week.

Jenni Powell, a colleague of Cohen’s at the International Academy of Web Television, has set up a donation page for Cohen’s recovery.

“There were just so many people here that loved Michael and wanted to do something that I just happened to be the one that actually set up the fund, but really it was a group effort, and it was a collaboration of people really just being moved by Michael and his situation,” Powell told 1010 WINS.

The goal for the fund had been $10,000. As of 7 p.m. Wednesday, the campaign had raised $53,238.

“I didn’t even know how to calculate what kind of cost is going to fall on him for critical care and all the things that he’s going to need for his recovery, and I knew that $10,000 was only a drop in the bucket, so I hoped it would go farther than that, but I never imagined that it would take off like it did,” Powell said.

The fire broke out around 11 a.m. Sunday in an apartment on the 20th floor. Emergency dispatchers told residents to stay in their apartments rather than try to escape, but dozens tried to escape anyway.

Since the Sunday blaze, officials have been examining an overloaded power strip and a cheap extension cord. They said that fire and smoke spread because an apartment door did not self-close, CBS 2 reported.

McClung’s family has asked donations to be made to the Northeast Animal Shelter in honor of McClung himself and the couple’s two dogs – Schooner and Georgia – who also died in the fire.

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