BY JESS WISLOSKI and LISA L. COLANGELODAILY NEWS WRITERS
A Queens family is bitterly blaming Con Edison’s bungled response to the borough’s blackout for killing their 61-year-old dad, who died after nearly a week of sleepless nights in his sweltering apartment.
Andres Rodriguez – the father of four sons, including NYPD Officer Sergio Rodriguez – died, apparently of a heart attack triggered by exhaustion, his family said.
“I really believe if we had power, we wouldn’t be going through this,” Rodri.guez’s son, also named Andres, said yesterday outside the family’s Woodside home.
“Imagine not sleeping for three days with no AC with the heat wave we have going on,” he said, adding that his father recently got a “clean bill of health” from his doctor.
Con Ed CEO Kevin Burke, who is under fire for the blackout that left 100,000 people in western Queens without electricity, refused to comment, saying, “I haven’t heard anything about that.”
Doctors at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn determined that Rodriguez’s death did not appear to be heat-related, the medical examiner’s office said. Rodriguez also had a history of diabetes and heart disease.
Still, Rodriguez’s family is convinced the outage killed him.
The medical examiner has agreed to conduct an autopsy at the family’s request.
Rodriguez – a hardworking door painter who was looking forward to retiring to his native Dominican Republic next year – apparently suffered the heart attack Saturday while picking up his wife, Maria, at her job on Maspeth Ave. When the wife opened the car door, she noticed her husband was barely breathing. He died after being rushed to Wyckoff.
“He told everybody on the street that he couldn’t sleep. He went for three days without sleep. He would stay outside the house every night because it was so hot,” said Andres Rodriguez, adding that his 54-year-old mother was too grief-stricken to speak.
“We wouldn’t like this to happen to anyone else.”
Making matters worse for the family is that Con Edison is still clueless about what caused the blackout.
“They don’t even know what the problem is, they don’t know how to fix it but they know how to send you a bill,” Andres Rodriguez said.
With Robert F. Moore