Medical Examiner confirms 17 people died from heat-related issues

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SPOKANE CO., Wash. — More people have been identified to have died from issues caused by the heatwave in Spokane County since the beginning the of this month.

The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office said there have been 17 heatwave-related deaths that occurred in Spokane since July 1. Compared to deaths between 2015 and 2020, there had only been 13 deaths in total due to heat exposure.

The Medical Examiner’s office said the victims range in age from 26 to 84 and include 8 women and 9 men. Most of them were found alone in houses or apartments without air conditioning. Some were found in buildings where other occupants were suffering from heat-related illnesses as well.

Some victims who have been identified include Ronda Truppe, 65; Nadine Hager, 45; David Bevleming, 81; Deana Farwell, 64; and Beverly Martin, 84.

They added that many of those who died had underlying health conditions that made them more susceptible to heat stress. Some also had cognitive impairments or mobility problems that kept them from getting away from the heat.

“Unfortunately, I expect that the true number of deaths related to this extreme weather event will probably be higher before the end of summer and once all hospital deaths are examined,” Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Veena Singh said. “The high number of deaths for this region emphasizes the importance of all of us being aware of the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, realizing how lethal these conditions can be, and checking on our neighbors, relatives, and friends to ensure that they are safe.”

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