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Killeen records first heat-related death

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Posted: Thursday, August 4, 2011 12:00 pm

By Philip Jankowski

Killeen Daily Herald

The first heat-related death in Killeen was confirmed Wednesday.

A preliminary autopsy report obtained from Justice of the Peace Bill Cooke's office shows that 69-year-old Ronald Henry Lease died as a result of being exposed to high temperatures. Police found Lease's body during a welfare check of his home in the 200 block of West Green Street in north Killeen Monday.

Cooke pronounced Lease dead at 6:53 p.m. Monday.

A medical examiner at the Southwest Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas determined hyperthermia combined with ongoing health problems caused Lease's death. The official cause of death is listed as hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease complicated by hyperthermia, the report states.

Cooke said Lease's death was the first caused in part by record-high temperatures.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lease fell into the high-risk category for people susceptible to heat-related deaths. People over 65, infants and sufferers of chronic health conditions are most at risk to die because of high temperatures.

The agency lists air conditioning as the No. 1 way to prevent heat-related deaths. It suggests everyone should drink more cold non-alcoholic fluids during times of extreme heat, according to its website.

Killeen has been struck with extreme temperatures over the entire summer. According to the weather tracking website Intellicast, Killeen has broken record-high temperatures nine of the last 14 days.

The highest recorded temperature was 109 degrees Tuesday. The National Weather Service forecast another record-high temperature today.

The seven-day forecast calls for temperatures to remain above 100 degrees.

Contact Philip Jankowski at philipj@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.

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