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MCSO asks local residents to check in on neighbors during extreme hot weather


NORTH VALLEY – The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is alerting county residents to check on their elderly neighbors as summer temperatures continue. Heat likely played a role in the deaths of two elderly persons in Fountain Hills in recent days.

“Our friends and relatives of advanced age are at extreme risk in summer heat,” said Sheriff Paul Penzone. “Air conditioning systems are operating at a high level and a failure can quickly become deadly for elderly persons, especially those already suffering medical problems.

Recently, MCSO Deputies were called out to investigate two deaths and found the deceased in a home where air conditioners were not working:

  • On June 25, an 86 year old female suffering from dementia and poor eyesight, living alone, passed away in her residence. The AC unit was not properly functioning though it had recently been repaired. The temperature inside the home was over 99 degrees.
  • On June 30, a 90 year old female living alone was found deceased in her residence. The AC was malfunctioning. The setting was on “High” but was off. When deputies checked the AC was blowing hot air.

“I find this cluster to be unusual,” explained Captain Henry Brandimarte, the Commander of MCSO District VII that includes Fountain Hills. “We have the potential to see more suffering as we head through the summer if we are not proactive in checking on our neighbors.”

Captain Brandimarte suggests neighbors and relatives take the following steps:

  • Reach out regularly to family members and neighbors.
  • Physically check on your loved ones to ensure their comfort.
  • Repair and delivery people should be vigilant when visiting homes and report any unusual circumstances so that resources will get to those in need.
  • Look for newspapers in the driveway, routines that are not being followed by your neighbors, and alert public safety if you think something isn’t normal.

“Your action in service to your relatives and neighbors could avert a tragedy,” Sheriff Penzone said.