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Whose fault? 93 yo WWII vet freezes to death

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
A terrible tragedy in Michigan:
http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/comment...ory&id=6740934
the electric company put a "limiter" on the poor man's power box and when the power was shut off, the man froze to death inside his own home
Now, the tough questions - should the neighbors have called Adult Protective Services to monitor the old man's capacity to live alone? does the utility company have the right to limit someone's power usage during extreme weather, or do they have a right to demand payment after a certain amount is owed? Should the county have been more involved in the man's life, since census records would have shown his advanced age? Should his doctor have notified somebody? Or should government just back out - it's up to a person to live how they want to live
post #2 of 23
That is so sad. I don't have any utilities in my name- do utility companies have your date of birth somewhere on file? That poor man.
post #3 of 23
This is horrible! The way the heating and electrical bills are increasing it's hard for my husband and I to pay them with two jobs! Once again these cold hearted greedy companies kill another elderly person who worked and served for his country. This isn't the first time this has happened and won't be the last. There should be laws in effect to help protect these people.
post #4 of 23
I was under the impression that they couldn't cut certain utilities in the winter - though it seems the limiter was their way around this.
Obviously the electric company knew, they probably tricked him into agreeing to this and were at his place to install it. Someone should have called to make sure the man would be taken care of.

The neighbors probably didn't know he was behind on his bills - does anyone here tell their neighbors about their bills?

There's usually some help to be found for utilities, but the money is limited and runs out quickly. Those filing for it have to do so early before weather gets cold or too hot.
post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
I was under the impression that they couldn't cut certain utilities in the winter - though it seems the limiter was their way around this.


I do not know how it works there, but certain utilities cannot be shut off during certain months (I think its Dec - March, but don't quote me on that)

This is such a sad sad story.

The article says
Quote:
Virani said officials were investigating whether Schur, who apparently did not contact anyone to ask for help, had dementia.
I can't help but wonder about the man's mental state, as in why didn't he leave or call for help....

all in all though, it is a sad story. The death could have been prevented. Especially with the weather we've been having as of late. (I'm assuming Michigan has been having the freezing cold temps that ON. has had over the last 2wks).
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
[quote=Snake_Lady;2543249
all in all though, it is a sad story. The death could have been prevented. Especially with the weather we've been having as of late. (I'm assuming Michigan has been having the freezing cold temps that ON. has had over the last 2wks).[/QUOTE]

My in-laws report below zero temps The water in the victim's sink was frozen - I lived in an A-frame where that would happen - my kids, the cats, the dog & I would bunk up together, not the best situation, but the best that I could afford at that time. My heart is just breaking thinking how that poor, poor man must have suffered....may he be playing happily over the Bridge, getting lots of cuddles & headbutts from our TCS RB kitties
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by catsknowme View Post
My in-laws report below zero temps The water in the victim's sink was frozen - I lived in an A-frame where that would happen - my kids, the cats, the dog & I would bunk up together, not the best situation, but the best that I could afford at that time. My heart is just breaking thinking how that poor, poor man must have suffered....may he be playing happily over the Bridge, getting lots of cuddles & headbutts from our TCS RB kitties
Ouch, I missed that the sink water was frozen

This is just beyond awful.

Utility companies here aren't the greatest, in non-winter months they will not hesitate to turn off your gas/hydro, but they can't do it in the winter. Same with evicting a renter. It is very very difficult to evict a renter during the winter months.
post #8 of 23
The power company was in the wrong, without a doubt. According to the article, they had put the limiter on, but nobody had personal contact with the man to let him know how it worked. That's unconscionable. How do they know anything about that person's situation?

That poor man, no family, his wife already dead, and he died alone and painfully.
post #9 of 23
Bill O'Reilly had a segment on this very case tonight on his show. He gave a bit more information.

Beside the man's body was found the heating with CASH paper clipped to the bill, the poor man was trying to pay his bill.

I think this is a travesty of the worst kind. O'Reilly said the utility company is saying they did nothing wrong, even though the man froze to death. Stuff like this depresses the heck out of me.

The one good thing, from what I have always read is freezing to death is a pretty painless way to die, I think a person just goes to sleep. I am in no way, shape or form making any excuses for the greedy, heartless utility company, they suck
post #10 of 23
It is undeniably Bay City Electric Light & Power's fault.

Get this...
The Bay City Commission voted to raise electric rates by 3 percent

I live in a neighboring town. This has been the topic of discussion all day. People in the Tri-City community are positively outraged, and rightfully so.

Bay City Mayor, Charles Brunner, said that there was no malice and no criminal intent. It certainly seems to me that there was gross negligence. I personally believe that the power company should be charged with (and found guilty of) negligent homicide. The people who allowed this to happen should face charges, and be forced to resign, from the head of the power company, right down to the individual who placed the limiter device on Mr. Schur's home. Perhaps the Bay City mayor should also face charges and be forced to resign. And talk about adding insult to injury...the Bay City Commission should probably get their walking papers while they're at it, for voting in a rate increase!!!

Hmmmm....once they've been forced to resign, they might have problems paying their electric bill, have a limiter placed on their residence, and die of hypothermia. How fitting.....one could only hope....
post #11 of 23
Maybe it's just me, but I think the neighbors should be feeling awful guilty for this tragedy. But in today's society...what else can be expected?? No one cares for their neighbors the way they used to. So sad....
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by taterbug View Post
Maybe it's just me, but I think the neighbors should be feeling awful guilty for this tragedy. But in today's society...what else can be expected?? No one cares for their neighbors the way they used to. So sad....
I'm curious as to why you feel the neighbours should be feeling guilty for this tragedy?
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snake_Lady View Post
I'm curious as to why you feel the neighbours should be feeling guilty for this tragedy?
Mainly because I was raised to believe that neighbors should help each other any way they can. And I was also brought up to respect my elders, whether they are my relatives or not. But as I said in my previous post, in todays society, most people are only concerned with their own well being and rightly so. That poor man's neighbors surely knew he was there alone. But then again, maybe not.

Of course, this is my personal opinion, one that I strongly believe in. I have elderly neighbors and always check in on them, especially those who are alone and rarely have visitors.
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by taterbug View Post
Maybe it's just me, but I think the neighbors should be feeling awful guilty for this tragedy. But in today's society...what else can be expected?? No one cares for their neighbors the way they used to. So sad....
I agree - not looking out for someone of such advanced years is in the same category as not looking out for a small child...... Surely the neighbors knew his age...yet they depended on the utility company to handle the situation.
but then again, I once picked up a developmentally disabled lady (who had handicapped hands) up at a camping site, where my DH had left her off & paid her fee then asked the campground hosts to help her out (he was running late for court in another town). Unable to set up a tent, she was left sitting in the dirt all night (her pedophile BF was in jail for attempted molest). She hadn't eaten because she couldn't operate a hand-held can opener. When I asked the hosts what happened, they said she "looked strange" so they decided to keep away from her .....It can be so easy to look the other way
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by taterbug View Post
Mainly because I was raised to believe that neighbors should help each other any way they can. And I was also brought up to respect my elders, whether they are my relatives or not. But as I said in my previous post, in todays society, most people are only concerned with their own well being and rightly so. That poor man's neighbors surely knew he was there alone. But then again, maybe not.

Of course, this is my personal opinion, one that I strongly believe in. I have elderly neighbors and always check in on them, especially those who are alone and rarely have visitors.
Ah gotcha.

I live in a community where we do watch out for our neighbours I live on a good street where we all know each other, each other's kids, etc. It's safe for our kids to play because no matter what, there is a parent out. Anyways, during the winter, people are not out much.... we tend to hibernate. So in all honesty, I don't know that I would know if something was wrong (like the heat being shut off) in a neighbours house. I would notice something was wrong if their driveway wasn't shoveled, as that is a normal thing. But if it doesn't snow, and is just cold, I wouldn't notice.

Unfortunately, the elderly are so much more sensitive to things, like this situation, that if I was his neighbour it would probally be too late before I realised something was wrong.

Now in the nice weather, it is completely different. If I didn't see my neighbours within 48hrs, I would KNOW something is wrong. But winter, we all hibernate and don't see each other much. Maybe once a week.
post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by taterbug View Post
I have elderly neighbors and always check in on them, especially those who are alone and rarely have visitors.
ESPECIALLY during times of hard weather
post #17 of 23
I have found this story very saddening,I work with the elderly mostly dementia and i can not believe that not 1 person noticed this was going on even with no family unless like others have said none of the neighbors noticed.I do not know most of my neighbors but we live in a small town and do notice differences in "everyday" routine.I had an elderly neighbor and her son live across the street from me and i noticed that their dog had not been out in about 2 days(I thought they were on vacation) but it turns out that they had both passed away from carbon monoxide poisoning,i had called after i realized that all their vehicles were still parked after a few days and their sidewalks were not shoveled.
post #18 of 23
That is the 3rd of 4th person to freeze to death in MI this winter. There was a man(not sure of age) found frozen to death outside and an elderly couple who fell in their driveway and could not get up. The wife died(from freezing) but I think the husband is still in the hospital.

I am going to be honest I don't know much about my neighbors and if they were freezing inside their homes I don't think I would have clue. But none of my immediate neighbors are elderly.
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by taterbug View Post
Maybe it's just me, but I think the neighbors should be feeling awful guilty for this tragedy. But in today's society...what else can be expected?? No one cares for their neighbors the way they used to. So sad....
I disagree with this. How were the neighbors to know that he was freezing to death? We know nothing about his neighborhood or the man himself to place blame on the neighbors. The only house I can see from my house is the one directly across the street. An older woman lives there alone. Yes, when it snows my husband will often go over there to clear the snow, but other than that we have very little contact with her. She can be very aloof at times. She regularly lets her newspapers and mail pile up, so that isn't an indication either. If we are both outside in the warmer months, we may chat, but even then she can be extremely aloof.

A 90+ year-old man used to live directly behind my parents' house. He slipped and fell in the house and was dead for a week without anyone knowing. He was a recluse that rarely had the lights on and often would not answer the door. How can the neighbors be to blame? The only way he was discovered was when the milkman made his weekly delivery and the previous week's milk was still in the milkbox. The milkman called the police.

Many people of that age with dementia are very leery of people.

As far as a doctor or the county stepping in, if he didn't have money for electricity he may not have seen a doctor in a while. In this area, there are also patient's rights laws. Yes, a doctor can and will suggest assistance, as he did in my father's case, but a patient can also refuse. My mother had to petition the court to become my father's legal guardian before my father could go into a nursing home. Otherwise any refusal by him would mean he didn't have to go.

There should be a law in place that heat and electricity should not be turned off during the colder months to avoid tragedies like this.
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by clixpix View Post
The power company was in the wrong, without a doubt. According to the article, they had put the limiter on, but nobody had personal contact with the man to let him know how it worked. That's unconscionable. How do they know anything about that person's situation?

That poor man, no family, his wife already dead, and he died alone and painfully.


They shouldn't have been allowed to shut it off, period. With that weather, it would be a death sentence for anyone!
post #21 of 23
I saw a news story on this last night and I felt just sick I hope the bigwigs of this electric company face charges
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookie-poo View Post
It is undeniably Bay City Electric Light & Power's fault.

Get this...
The Bay City Commission voted to raise electric rates by 3 percent

I live in a neighboring town. This has been the topic of discussion all day. People in the Tri-City community are positively outraged, and rightfully so.

Bay City Mayor, Charles Brunner, said that there was no malice and no criminal intent. It certainly seems to me that there was gross negligence. I personally believe that the power company should be charged with (and found guilty of) negligent homicide. The people who allowed this to happen should face charges, and be forced to resign, from the head of the power company, right down to the individual who placed the limiter device on Mr. Schur's home. Perhaps the Bay City mayor should also face charges and be forced to resign. And talk about adding insult to injury...the Bay City Commission should probably get their walking papers while they're at it, for voting in a rate increase!!!

Hmmmm....once they've been forced to resign, they might have problems paying their electric bill, have a limiter placed on their residence, and die of hypothermia. How fitting.....one could only hope....
Very well stated! They all should lose their jobs over this. The way that the heating bills have been going sky high in my area, many more won't be able to pay their bills. It's beyond horrible.
post #23 of 23
The Michigan Public Service Commission does not allow regulated public utilities to place limiters on service during the cold winter months. That order covers DTE Energy (Formerly Detroit Edison), Consumers Energy, etc.

But not municipal utilities, like Bay City's. That does NOT in ANY way make this right and there is plenty of blame to go around and, of course, in our society -NO ONE is willing to take responsibility for ANYTHING!

According to the medical examiner - dying from hypothermia is a painful ordeal. YOu feel like your extremities are on fire!

My heart was breaking as I read this story in the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press online editions.

Bay City has immediately stopped using the limiters... too little, too late.
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