MCSO calls on residents to check on neighbors after heat-related deaths

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The heat is real in the Valley. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The heat is real in the Valley. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
MCSO's Capt. Henry Brandimarte speaks about the dangers of heat. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) MCSO's Capt. Henry Brandimarte speaks about the dangers of heat. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is calling on neighbors to check on their older neighbors as the mercury is expected to pass the 110-degree mark.

Two women died last week in their homes in Fountain Hills and deputies believe both were heat-related.

On June 25, an 86-year-old woman, who suffered from dementia and poor eyesight and lived alone, was found dead. The air conditioning unit wasn't working right. The temperature inside her home was more than 99 degrees, MCSO said.

On June 30, a 90-year-old woman, also living alone, was found dead in her home. Her air conditioning unit was set on high but when deputies checked, the unit was blowing hot air, according to deputies.

"These women suffered needlessly because of the heat," MCSO's Capt. Henry Brandimarte said.

[RAW VIDEO: MCSO speaks about the fatal consequences of the heat]

"Our friends and relatives of advanced age are at extreme risk in summer heat," said Sheriff Paul Penzone. "Air conditioning systems are operating at a high level and a failure can quickly become deadly for elderly persons, especially those already suffering medical problems.

Last week, County Department of Public Health officials said they were investigating the heat as a possible factor in 12 deaths in metro Phoenix as temperatures soared to 119 degrees.

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

Maricopa County saw 130 heat-related deaths last year, up from 85 in 2015.

Brandimarte suggests neighbors do the following:

  1. Reach out regularly to family members and neighbors.
  2. Physically check on your loved ones to ensure their comfort.
  3. Repair and delivery people should be vigilant when visiting homes and report any unusual circumstances so that resources will get to those in need.
  4. Look for newspapers in the driveway, routines that are not being followed by your neighbors and alert public safety if you think something isn't normal.

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