Heat a possible factor in 12 Maricopa County deaths

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Officials are investigating the heat as a possible culprit in 12 deaths in metro Phoenix last week as temperatures soared to 119 degrees.

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health says it has opened investigations in 12 deaths to determine if they are heat-related.

[RELATED: Peoria PD: Elderly woman dies of apparent heat exhaustion]

Other Arizona counties have reported at least 4 heat-related deaths since last week, including an elderly couple found dead in a home in Pinal County with a broken air-conditioning unit.

Maricopa County, the state's largest municipality, saw 130 heat deaths last year, compared with 85 in 2015.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona's extreme heat]

The county is currently investigating a total of 27 deaths as heat-related, covering a period that started in April.

[RELATED: Heat wave boosts burns in Phoenix as pavement, cars scald]

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