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Heat Wave Proves Fatal

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Cesar Rodriguez, left, and Tomas Garay, 58, are among two Chicagoans whose deaths are considered heat-related. (CBS)

Cesar Rodriguez, left, and Tomas Garay, 58, are among two Chicagoans whose deaths are considered heat-related. (CBS)

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UPDATED 07/22/11 5:30 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — The extreme heat is suspected of being a factor in the deaths of at least seven Cook County residents in the last few days.

Of the victims, one died of heat stroke, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. He is Tomas Garay, 58, of 2653 W. Crystal St., who died at 11:50 p.m. Thursday at Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center after being found at 2724 W. Division St.

In the South Side’s Englewood neighborhood, Daisy Davis, 87, was found dead in her apartment in the 6600 block of South Carpenter Street. A neighbor said she lived there alone.

Greg Wolf, 47, of 1304 S. Kildare Ave., was pronounced dead at his home at 2:05 p.m. Thursday. Wolf died of coronary atherosclerosis, with secondary causes being schizophrenia and heat stress, according to the medical examiner’s office.

A man from the West Side, Hezekiah Williams, 93, of 4830 W. Arthington St., also suffered from the heat at his home. An autopsy showed he died of heart disease and heat stress, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Haywood McCoy, 84, of 1415 S. Pulaski Rd., was pronounced dead at noon Thursday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after being overheated at his home. McCoy died of heart disease, with a secondary cause listed as heat stress.

Elizabeth Childs, 87, of the 200 block of West 155th Street in Calumet City, was pronounced dead at 2:45 a.m. Friday at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Larry Stansberry, a neighbor, says the bed-ridden Childs was sealed up in a first-floor apartment that was like “an inferno.” He suggested the occupants did not open the windows because of security concerns.

Far South Side resident Christine Snell, 86, of 10129 S. Rhodes Ave., was pronounced dead at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Advocate Trinity Hospital after suffering from heat at her home, according to the medical examiner’s office. Snell died of hypertensive cardiovascular disease but had heat stress, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Meanwhile, Cesar Rodriguez, 18, of the 1500 block of West 17th St., was pronounced dead Thursday night at Stroger Hospital of Cook County. The M.E.’s office had not received the young man’s body, a representative told CBS 2.

Cesar was part of his family’s Mariachi band, and dreamed of becoming a music composer. His younger brother spoke to CBS 2 outside of his home, in the Pilsen neighborhood. He said Cesar spent most of the day Thursday outside – bicycling, running and hanging out with family and friends. Between 7 and 8 p.m. Thursday, he collapsed and hit his head on a green metal fence outside the house.

Two additional deaths thought to be related to the heat were later attributed to other causes.

A few miles away in the Woodlawn neighborhood, Clementine Lacy, 60, died in her second-floor apartment in the 6500 block of South Ellis Avenue. The Medical Examiner’s office said Lacey died from diabetes.

Investigators say Armastad Bracey, 79, was found dead in his home in the 8800 block of South Sangamon Street in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood. Officials says the temperature inside his house was more than 90 degrees when they found him. But the M.E.’s office on Friday said heat was not a cause.

A total 22 people have now been killed nationwide by the brutal heat wave.

Temperatures have been soaring into the 90s all week, and have exceeded 100 degrees in some areas – including Northerly Island just south of downtown.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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