62 yr old homeless man found in an unairconditioned shed, south Texas

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    Heat grips South Texas
    Heat responsible for death of local man

    CORPUS CHRISTI — A homeless man found in an unairconditioned shed died of heat stroke and dehydration, the first heat-related death in an unusually hot, dry summer in Corpus Christi, the Nueces County Medical Examiner's office reported.

    The medical examiner is seeking help finding relatives of Robert Nelson, 62, who died Monday. The official cause of death was listed as hyperthermia and environmental exposure.

    Nelson had not had anything to eat or drink in days, said Ric Ortiz, chief investigator for the medical examiner's office, citing a report from emergency medical responders. Nelson was found in the 1000 block of Flour Bluff Drive. The high temperature Monday was 98.

    A graveside service will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at Duncan Cemetery, paid by the county's indigent funeral fund, said Norman Gonzalez, a funeral director at Corpus Christi Funeral Home.

    Health officials and homeless advocates said the death serves as a reminder to take precautions against heat exposure, look out for neighbors and seek shelter during the hottest part of the day.

    Corpus Christi public libraries and senior centers have reduced hours as part of $5.8 million in budget cuts approved by the City Council. But, under a sponsorship by Reliant Energy, the Lindale and Greenwood centers are staying open as cooling centers from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

    Under the reduced hours, libraries are closed Sundays, and the La Retama Central Library also is closed Mondays. Four of the city's eight senior centers — Broadmoor, Northwest, Oveal Williams and Zavala — reduced hours to part time, four days a week.

    City officials have considered creating a heat-specific emergency plan, an idea initiated before Monday's death.

    "Emergency managers and the health department are in communication to talk about what tools they can utilize if we start seeing a lot of hospitalization for heat-related illnesses," city spokeswoman Kim Womack said.

    The elderly and the very young are especially susceptible to heat illness. Driscoll Children's Hospital so far hasn't seen a heat-related illness this summer, spokesman Mike Bratten said. The number of heat illnesses at other area hospitals wasn't available Thursday.

    High temperatures in Corpus Christi this summer are running about three degrees above normal, according to the National Weather Service. The forecast for this weekend calls for temperatures near 100 along the coast to near 106 across the brush country, with heat indexes approaching or exceeding 110.

    read more Heat grips South Texas » Corpus Christi Caller-Times
     

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