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Lawyers will pursue fire victim's $20M harassment suit

Lawyers for a Queens woman who died in an accidental blaze said that they will continue to pursue her $20-million sexual-harassment suit against her former employer and JP Morgan in federal court in Manhattan.

Bianca Kuros, 44, died Sunday after a fire broke out in the living room of her fifth-story apartment at the Pomonok Houses in Flushing. Although the fire was initially believed to be suspicious, Chief Fire Marshal Robert Byrnes told reporters Monday that it was ruled an accident.

"There is no indication that an accelerator was used in this fire," says Byrnes.

Fire marshals recovered damaged electrical wires and a power strip that had been located at the spot of the fire's origin, Byrnes said.

Fire officials said that the fire alarm in Kuros' apartment had been removed from its mount on the ceiling and did not have a battery in it.

Kuros' 16-year-old daughter was injured in the fire and remains in critical condition at Jacobi Medical Center, according to fire officials. Two men in their 50s also suffered burns and smoke inhalation and are in critical condition, according to officials.

Kuros, a construction safety supervisor, filed the $20-million lawsuit in July contending she had been subjected to sexual harassment and unlawful discrimination at a midtown Manhattan construction site owned by JP Morgan Chase, according to the complaint.

The suit contends that elevator operator Steve Greco repeatedly harassed Kuros and that she was unfairly removed from her position after she complained to her bosses.

Kuros was to have appeared at a scheduling hearing in court yesterday.

"We'll get a representative from the family and continue it," Steven Wittels, her Manhattan attorney, said. "We do have other witnesses and documents and certainly Bianca would have wanted this suit to continue."

"We're not going to slow down our efforts to get justice for Bianca," says Jeremy Heisler, an associate of Wittels who was also involved in the case.

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