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Heat death toll rises to 17 in St. Louis

2:09 AM, Jul 17, 2012   |    comments
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ST. LOUIS (KSDK) -- The city of St. Louis confirms that three more people have died from the sweltering temperatures in the past few weeks. Now the total for the city is at 17 with last year's heat-related deaths at 8.

The deaths included three men, ages 64, 65 and 71. All 17 deaths in the city have occurred since June 24. 

"We would check up on each other but I think we probably could have done a better job," says neighbor to 64 year old Ronald Pendleton, who is one of the confirmed victims of the heat wave.

On June 24th when the temperature hit 99 degrees and Hadley found Pendleton dead inside his home.

"When we ran in, all of the windows were down, like I said, there was no air conditioner on," says Hadley. "He was sitting in the chair and evidently he had gotten so hot and he had a towel in his hand and he just had his head laying back."

The home itself he says was like a sauna with no breeze and no relief.

"Really hot in there, when I went in the door I backed back out, it was that hot in there," he says.

Also Monday, the city asked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create a national heat death reporting system. City officials say the lack of a national reporting system prevents jurisdictions from learning from each other.

"We could learn from each other and see patterns and implement similar programs quicker that are more effective," says Walker.

Walker says she is proud of the people of St. Louis so far.

"If we didn't have the whole community involved we would have a lot more than 17 deaths," says Walker.

Hadley thinks we can always do better.

"I think after that happened it makes you want to talk to people a little bit more you know?" says Hadley.

Two other deaths confirmed Monday were a 71 year old man and a 65 year old man.

Walker gives a bit of advice she says if it's 85 degrees in the house then that person living there is in danger. If it's 95 degrees in the house they need to get out immediately.

Associated Press

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