An elderly couple was found dead after the heater reached 1,000 degrees
Two elderly people in South Carolina were found dead in a bedroom during a wellness check last week, where police said the home’s heater reached 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit — so much so that the victims’ bodies exceeded 106 degrees.
In a police report obtained by CBS News, an officer said he went to their residence on January 6 to conduct a wellness check after their family had not heard from them in three days. Officers had to enter the house through a bedroom window, whereupon the couple – 84-year-old Joan Littlejohn and 82-year-old Glenwood Fowler – were found dead in their bed. There were no signs of struggle or foul play.
The responding officer said they “noticed the home was extremely hot” once they entered. When paramedics went to take the victims’ body temperatures, each temperature registered more than 106 degrees Fahrenheit — the highest recorded by his device.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Average body temperature It should be between 97° and 99° F. If the core body temperature exceeds 104 degrees, individuals “Needs immediate cooling And urgent medical attention.”
When the fire department arrived, they found the home’s interior temperature was more than 120 degrees — after the home had been left open to the cold weather for “approximately 20 minutes,” the police report said.
“They then checked the basement of the residence where the fireplace and hot water heater were located,” the police report said. “One firefighter stated that the heater was so hot that it looked as if the basement was currently on fire.”
After turning off the heater, they found that the temperature of the heater exceeded 1,000 degrees.
Spartanburg Coroner Rusty Clevenger said his office was “concerned about why the temperature was so hot” in the home, but no foul play was discovered. Police said carbon dioxide levels in the home were not a cause for concern, and the coroner said he and his office would “continue the investigation.”
Upon speaking to the victims’ family, the responding officer learned that the hot water heater and heater “were out and the house was very cold” on the last day the family saw the couple. The family ended up “tampering” with the hot water heater, and the family members left the home.