Seniors a concern amid triple digit temperatures

By Fred Childers - email | bio

BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) -  Bossier City Police say a home on Jana street was the scene of the city's first heat-related death of the year.

"The woman's son found her there after trying to make contact with her by telephone on Monday. He did talk with her over the weekend on Saturday to check on her," says Mark Natale with the Bossier City Police Department.

The house reportedly has no air conditioning. "There was a box fan operating in the bedroom where this woman was found but again there was virtually no circulation at all, no cool air inside the house," said Natale.

Police say 75-year-old Patsy Ferlito was found inside the home, which they described as very hot with all the windows closed.

The Bossier Council on Aging says this is a scene very common among senior citizens. "It's a matter of security issues. They're afraid to open their windows, particularly at night times," says Marry Ann Rankin, the Executive Director at the Bossier Council on Aging.

The Council on Aging delivers meals and provides seniors with transportation and a place to relax. Those whose homes are without air conditioning are especially encouraged to go there. "Go to the senior centers, go to the libraries, go to public buildings that are cool, just some place where they can be comfortable," says Rankin.

She goes on to say if they do stay home, they should use fans to move air in and out of their homes to avoid an oven effect. "It's always a very sad situation when something like this happens, it is something that could be avoided," laments Rankin.

Unfortunately, the death in the Jana St. home was not avoided, and t now serves as a reminder. "The lesson here is if you know of any elderly people, do what you can to get them inside a cool environment," says Natale.

An autopsy performed on Ferlito indicates that heat was the cause of death.