EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (AP) — Two Ohio men were found dead last week in a sweltering apartment building for low-income seniors with a broken air-conditioning system, East Liverpool officials said.
The bodies of 77-year-old William Alexander and 60-year-old Terry Rall were found Thursday at Oddfellows Temple Apartments along the Ohio River in eastern Ohio’s Columbiana County. Their deaths were first reported by The (East Liverpool) Review.
The newspaper reported residents had been seeking hospital treatment for heat-related illnesses for days and were not able to open windows in a building placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
Messages seeking comment were left Tuesday with the building’s owner, Columbus-based RLJ Management.
East Liverpool Fire Chief William Jones said in an interview Tuesday that temperatures in one man’s apartment reached 99 degrees and was 95 degrees in the other. Residents gave varied reports on how long the air-conditioning system had been broken in a building where Jones described conditions as “stifling” with no air movement.
“It’s a very sad situation, especially with something that could been corrected prior to that,” he said. “It would be a horrible way to die.”
Jones said he urged management Thursday to evacuate the building. Some residents were taken to a local hotel while others went to stay with relatives. With the air conditioning finally repaired, residents returned their apartments on Saturday ahead of a planned protest about the building’s conditions at East Liverpool City Hall.
East Liverpool police are investigating. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office in Cleveland will determine how the men died.