East Coast Heat Wave Claims 30 Lives…Still Counting

Heat Wave

via AP

Deaths blamed on the East Coast’s recent heat wave climbed past 30 Thursday with various coroner’s reports, and 15 of the deaths were in Philadelphia alone.

The Philadelphia medical examiner’s office said seven people found dead Wednesday died of heat-related causes. On Wednesday the office had reported eight other heat-related deaths in the four days of scorching temperatures.

Most of the victims in Philadelphia and elsewhere were elderly.

New York City’s medical examiner, which attributed six deaths to the heat wave Wednesday, added a seventh Thursday: an 88-year-old man found in his Brooklyn home with hyperthermia, an abnormal elevation of body temperature.

Another seven heat-related deaths have been reported in Virginia. Two have been reported in Maryland, including one man who collapsed after using a push lawnmower in the heat.

Also, the Montgomery County coroner reported that a 65-year-old man died Tuesday from sunstroke in the Philadelphia suburb of Pottstown.

The region suffered through temperatures in the high 90s from Saturday through Tuesday.

Philadelphia medical examiner’s spokesman Jeff Moran said city’s death toll was “a bit high, but I would not call it that unusual.”

He noted that some heat waves in the 1990s had been far deadlier, with 118 deaths ruled as heat-related in 1993 and more than 70 in 1995. Also, the fact that this heat wave was the first of 2008 was a factor, he said.

“The first heat wave of the season usually hits a good deal harder,” Moran said.

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