PCSO: Heat may be to blame for death of elderly couple in Apache Junction

- There are a lot of questions we may never know the answers to -- most centered around the home's air conditioning unit, which appeared to not be working. Why didn't the couple leave their home in this extreme heat?

This is a tragic reminder that the heat is dangerous and it's deadly.

The deaths of the elderly couple have stunned the retirement community that caters to seniors ages 55 and older.

"There was some time people had not seen them.. they had not seen movement around the house and they requested us to check and at that point it was just too late," said Sgt. Phillip LeBlanc of the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.

There were fans running inside the home, according to the Sheriff's office, but the air conditioner did not turn on when they tried it.

In the heat , it doesn't take long before you are in real physical jeopardy says Maricopa County Medical Director,  Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine.

Especially for children or the elderly when you go several hours in the extreme heat without any water, you can get sick very quickly. That's why it's important to keep kids and pets out of the car and check on our elderly neighbors and make sure their AC is on," she said.

"In this kind of heat, you need to have contact. I know I call my mother every day, a couple times a day. She's older and I want to make sure she's okay," said LeBlanc.

"We know that so far this year, five people have died from heat-related causes and there's 15 deaths under investigation. Our best data is from 2016. We had 130 people die from heat-related causes and that is the most that we've ever seen since we started counting in 2006," added Sunenshine.

The deaths are not considered to be suspicious and the cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner.

 

 

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