NEW YORK (AP) -
Two women who died when an explosion flattened two buildings in New York City's East Harlem neighborhood were remembered Thursday as active, well-loved members of their church.
Griselde Camacho and Carmen Tanco were members of the Bethel Gospel Assembly, located in a building a few blocks from the scene of Wednesday's explosion, church officials said.
They said Tanco, 67, a dental hygienist, had gone on medical missions with the church to South Africa, Nigeria and the Dominican Republic. She had been planning to return to the Dominican Republic in July for another mission.
Associate pastor Gordon Williams said Tanco "was known as `Auntie' to just about everybody."
He said Tanco had told him she was planning to take a little bottle filled with coins on the trip, to give to children or anyone else who might need them.
"She was always looking to bless and help and be there," Williams said.
Camacho, 45, a public safety officer at Hunter College, volunteered as an audio-visual technician at the church, operating the PowerPoint presentations during Bishop Carlton T. Brown's sermons.
Brown said Camacho "was always seeking to do her best, eager to serve, eager to please."
Hunter College President Jennifer Raab called Camacho "a well-liked member of our community, a respected officer and a welcoming presence at our Silberman building."
Bethel Gospel Assembly director of ministry relations Ruth-Ann Wynter said Camacho was a single mother of a teenage son.
A cousin of Tanco's, television cameraman Angel Vargas, said Tanco moved to New York from Puerto Rico around 1970. He said she had been married and divorced and had no children.
Vargas said Tanco was a cherished presence at family gatherings over the years.
"She was always that person who would get up and dance and have fun with everyone," he said. "She was the life of the party.
At least seven people are confirmed dead in the blast that was triggered by a gas leak.
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