Friday, July 28, 2006

California-Killer heat wave overwhelms coroners’ offices

Death toll at 132 in California, weather killing hundreds of livestock - Associated Press

FRESNO, Calif. - At least 132 deaths are likely linked to a nearly two-week heat wave in California, according to county coroner's offices. The big jump in the death count came primarily from Los Angeles County and the Central Valley counties of Merced and Stanislaus, where coroners struggled to keep up. The vast majority of those deaths statewide have been elderly people whose bodies don't cope as well in the heat. In Fresno County’s morgue, the walk-in freezer was stuffed with bodies, with some piled on top of others, said Coroner Loralee Cervantes. With limited air conditioning, employees worked in sweltering heat as they investigated at least 22 possible heat-related deaths. “It’s never been like this in my years here,” Cervantes said. “This is really tragic.” See: Calif. heat toll overwhelms coroners

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