A feared mass killer, Irene got victims one by one

By JOHN CURRAN | September 3, 2011 | 1:10 PM EDT

Hurricane Irene was forecast to be the biggest in decades to hit the Eastern Seaboard — triggering evacuations, airport closures and the unprecedented shutdown of New York's mass transit system.

But unlike major hurricanes that kill dozens of victims at a time, this storm claimed a victim here and a victim there on its angry swirl through 13 states — at least 46 U.S. deaths in all.

Irene didn't unleash the mass destruction on big cities that many people feared. But it killed people in a variety of ways, some of them conscientious people whose good intentions led to tragic deaths.

Irene's victims were killed in flash floods and by toppled trees, fires, electrocutions and carbon monoxide poisonings.