Heat wave claims life of Philly man; N.J., Del. report no heat-related deaths

Philadelphia officials said the death of a man in his 70s in West Philadelphia on Saturday was attributed to the heat, when temperatures hit 97 degrees.

hot blaring sun


Authorities in Philadelphia say the sweltering weather has claimed the life of one person.

The Philadelphia Department of Health said Monday that the death of a man in his 70s in West Philadelphia on Saturday was attributed to the heat. No other details were provided.

The National Weather Service said the high Saturday reached 97 degrees with high humidity making it feel much hotter.

A day earlier, about 250 people were evacuated from a Northwest Philadelphia retirement community due to a partial power outage during the heat wave. Residents were taken from The Pavilion apartments in the Wynnfield Heights section of the city Friday to a shelter set up at West Philadelphia High School.

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Jennifer Norman with the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, which has kept a hotline open during the heat wave, says in this kind of heat, only air conditioning will help keep people cool.

“If it’s hotter outside than it is in your apartment or house, a fan isn’t going to do it,” Norman said. “If you’re worried about the cost of air conditioning, like some of us are, no is not really the time to save on electrical.”

In 2011, 35 people died from heat-related causes in Philadelphia, the largest number of such deaths in the last 10 years. That’s a decrease from the 1990s which saw 361 deaths over the decade, said James Garrow, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Health. Garrow said as average temperatures have risen, the number of deaths have fallen.

Three people died in 2018. There were no heat-related deaths in Philadelphia in 2017. Both years were among the hottest on record.

New Jersey’s medical examiner says no heat-related deaths have been reported in the state since the recent heat wave began.

Wendy Hudson, a spokeswoman for the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security said no deaths have been reported in that state so far either.

“However, it should be noted that often times the decedents are not discovered until a few days after the end of the heat wave,” said Hudson.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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