Elderly Couple Dies After South Carolina Home Heats Over 1,000 Degrees

(ReliableNews.org) – More than 100 people die every year from issues associated with their home heating systems. Nearly 500 people pass away from carbon monoxide poisoning. Officials in South Carolina are trying to figure out what killed an elderly couple recently.

On Saturday, January 6, the Spartanburg Police Department received a call for a welfare check. First responders arrived at the home and were about to break inside the house around 6 p.m. Eastern Time. After getting inside the residence, the police and EMS found two victims dead.

The identities of the couple were later revealed to be Joan Littlejohn, 84, and Glennwood Fowler, 82. According to a police report, the temperature inside the house reached over 120 degrees. Brad Hall, the assistant chief for the Spartanburg Fire Department, said the temperatures reached a scorching 800 to 1,000 degrees. The victims’ body temperatures exceeded 106 degrees.

Despite the extremely hot temperatures in the home, authorities don’t know what killed the couple. Firefighters tested for carbon monoxide but didn’t find unusual levels. Still, Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said that he’s going to test the bodies to make sure they don’t have carbon monoxide in their bloodstreams.

The coroner told WSPA that he always tests for carbon monoxide when a death like theirs occurs, especially with the type of heater the couple had. He hired a specialist to look at the heater to ensure it was working correctly. Clevenger said that he hoped that he would gain information that could help him find out if it malfunctioned.

Members of the couple’s family said that they’d been having problems with their hot water heater and heater before their deaths. The family member said that they went to the home on January 3 and noticed the pilot light on the hot water heater was out, so they messed with a wire. The light came back on, and the family member left the house.

It’s likely take several weeks to determine the causes of death.

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