~*Crushed*Glass*~ (crushedglass) wrote,

I heard about this on the radio this morning. How awful!

Story here: http://tinyurl.com/cd78gw

This is so sad! A 93 year old man froze to death in his own house because he was behind in his power bills and the power company limited his power. What an awful story.

I would think that in the winter, with temperatures like we have here, there could be a way of dealing with situations like this. I don't think it means people should get free power, but I do think there ought to be a delay in a shut off until temperatures are at a safe level.

Full text (for reference) under cut:

A pathologist said a 93-year-old Bay City man froze to death inside his home - his body found days after city workers said they limited electricity flowing to the house.

Marvin E. Schur suffered "a slow, painful death" inside his home at 1600 S. Chilson St. on Bay City's southwest side, said Dr. Kanu Virani, who performed an autopsy on the body.

"Hypothermia shuts the whole system down, slowly," Virani said. "It's not easy to die from hypothermia without first realizing your fingers and toes feel like they're burning."

Funeral services for Schur, a retired pattern-maker who lived alone, are at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Gephart Funeral Home, 201 W. Midland St. Schur's wife, retired elementary-school teacher Marian I. (Meisel) Schur, died several years ago, and the couple had no children.

Virani, Oakland County's deputy chief medical examiner, performs autopsies for Bay County and numerous other Michigan counties. Of about 15,000 autopsies Virani has conducted, he said Marvin Schur's autopsy "is the first one I can remember doing on someone who froze to death indoors."

Virani said the temperature inside Schur's home was less than 32 degrees when neighbors George A. Pauwels Jr. and his wife, Shannon, found Schur's body Jan. 17.

George Pauwels Jr. said Schur owed almost $1,100 in electricity bills to the city of Bay City, though Pauwels said he noticed money clipped to those bills on Schur's kitchen table the day he found Schur's body.

Bay City Manager Robert V. Belleman said a worker with Bay City Electric Light & Power placed a "limiter" device outside Schur's home, between Schur's electricity meter and electrical service, on Jan. 13.

The device restricts the amount of electricity reaching the home and if a homeowner tries to draw more electricity than the limiter allows, "it blows the limiter, just like blowing a fuse, and then you go outside and reset it," Belleman said.

Belleman said he doesn't know if a city worker made one-on-one contact with Schur to explain the limiter's operation. Virani said he doesn't know if Schur suffered from dementia, which could have interfered with his ability to know how to reset a limiter.

Pauwels said Schur couldn't hear well, and said he believed Schur "had a little bit" of dementia.

Belleman said city workers keep the limiter on a residence for 10 days, at which point the city shuts off all electricity if the homeowner hasn't paid his utility bill or arranged to do so.

Jim Hernden, 41, a neighbor of Marvin Schur, said Bay City Electric Light & Power workers should insist on meeting face to face with a homeowner, or a homeowner's neighbors, before installing a limiter or shutting off power.

"We're a small enough town where someone like Marvin should get a little bit extra care," he said.

Bay City Police Department officers investigated Schur's death, but declined comment, referring all questions to Belleman.

Pauwels said he blames the city for Marvin Schur's death.

"His furnace was not running - the insides of his windows were full of ice the morning we found him," Pauwels said. "This (limiter) is supposed to regulate the amount of electricity he was using, but still allow enough power to run the furnace.Obviously, it didn't work."

Belleman said city officials will review Electric Light & Power policies in the wake of Schur's death. Belleman said he doesn't believe the city did anything wrong.

"I've said this before and some of my colleagues have said this: Neighbors need to keep an eye on neighbors," Belleman said. "When they think there's something wrong, they should contact the appropriate agency or city department."
Tags: news

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