ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)- It may have felt feel like our heat wave was over Monday, but authorities warned the dangers were still there, as they confirmed seven more heat deaths in the City of St. Louis. It felt great outside, but a lot of that built up heat, was still trapped inside all those brick houses in St. Louis.
Cooler air was stirring Monday night. Windows were cracked open again; the bricks truly need to soak it up as much as the people behind them.
‘It takes at least two days for these brick buildings to cool down; two days where the evenings are 75 degrees or lower,’ said St. Louis Health Director, Pam Walker.
She said Marvin Flanigan, 72, was the latest to die from heat related causes; his body found in his home in the 3100 block of Nebraska in South St. Louis Sunday.
All of the victims died between Thursday and Sunday. All but one were seniors and five of them were females.
‘[They] either didn`t have air conditioning or had access to it and didn`t use it…may have had a cognitive or mental health issue as a complicating factor. Many of them were offered help and didn`t use it,’ Walker said.
They were ages 8 – 84; their body temperatures: 102-106 degrees; the temperatures in the rooms where they were found: 80 to 110; all reminders we still need to check on those around us.
‘We found a 103 year old guy in a 100 degree house,’ Walker said. ‘If it`s over 85 (degrees in the room) and they`re over 70, they`re in grave danger. If it`s 95 or over, it`s as dangerous as if their house in on fire. They need to get out now…in this environment you have to be insistent. You can`t just let them say no.’
She said it was time for St. Louis to start treating summer heat as a public health threat, almost as if it were a potential disease out-break.
‘I`m really looking at putting together a program that would be severe weather public health prevention program; where we start earlier, checking all the high rises to make sure they`re checking their air conditioning units; we do health fairs all year long and talk about having a heat plan and what heat does to you and just do what we know how to do in public health and prevent this stuff,’ Walker said.
Altamesa Dobson, 8, was also among the victims. Authorities said she had Cystic Fibrosis and was found in an un-air conditioned room in the Blumeyer Housing Complex in North St. Louis.
Walker said none of the victims was on the city’s Functional Needs Registry, which had 3200 people registered. Had the victims been on the registry, authorities could have tracked their cases and checked on them before it was too late.
For information on the Functional Needs Registry call 314-657-1676 or log onto http://stlcityspecialneeds.org/webpages/FAQ.apsx.
The victims were identified:
- Marvin C. Flanigan, 72, who lived on Nebraska, was found dead Sunday in his bedroom in a single family brick home. There was no air conditioning in the room. Flanigan’s wife had gone to stay with family. He had refused to leave the home.
- Henry Lee Lomax, 72, was found dead on July 7. He lived alone in a brick home on Evans. He had air conditioning units but chose not to use them.
- Linda Allen, 62, was found on July 4 in the second floor living room or a two story duplex. She did not have an air conditioner. She died two days later.
- Altamesa Dobson, 8, was found on the ninth floor of at 14 story apartment building on July 6. Early Friday, the young girl was taken from her housing high-rise in the 3500 block of Franklin and rushed to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, where she later died. The girl suffered from a pre-existing medical condition. She lived with family and there were working air conditioners present, but not in the room she was in. Read More: Heat Might Be Factor In 8-Year-Old’s Death
- Jeanne M. Marshall, 75, was found on the main level of a one story, single family home on Arlington July 6. She had one window AC unit in the home. She lived with family.
- Jeanette M. Basch, 76, was found on the main level of her single family home on Wabash July 5. She lived alone.
- Hedwig I. Hanus, 84, was found in the kitchen of a two story, single family home on Marine. An air conditioning unit was present, but was not plugged in. When it was checked, it only blew hot air. She lived alone.
Cooling centers (like senior centers, recreation centers, and libraries) will remain open during this period of excessive heat. A full and updated list of cooling centers can be found at http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lsx/?n=ows.
Residents who do not have an air conditioner or who need energy assistance can contact Cool Down St. Louis at (314) 241-7668 or the United Way at 2-1-1. City residents can register on the Functional Needs Registry or can register fellow City residents on the Registry by calling Kelli McCurdy at 314-657-1676 or by visiting http://stlcityspecialneeds.org/webpages/FAQ.aspx.