An elderly Leefield couple living in a mobile home without air conditioning died Sunday from heat stroke, according to Bulloch County Coroner Jake Futch.
Larry and Mary Greer both in their 80s were each found deceased in their Tall Timbers Lane home just before 3 p.m. Monday after someone requested a welfare check, Futch said.
The couple was last seen Friday, and “a neighbor said (Mr. Greer) asked for a glass of ice water,” Futch said. “It felt like 110 degrees” inside the mobile home, which had box fans, but no air conditioner, he said. Mr. Greer was found “on the back deck, and (Mrs. Greer) was found inside on the couch.”
According to Futch, both victims had suffered recent health issues, including Mrs. Greer having been hospitalized for heat stroke, he said.
While there are no cooling centers open currently in Bulloch County, a center where people could cool off during the day would be opened if there was a demand, said Bulloch County Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn.
Wynn said if groups or individuals reached out, Public Safety officials would talk to private partners like churches to open a center that would provide relief during the day. Wynn said one such cooling center was set up at Statesboro First Presbyterian Church during a heat wave several years ago that sent the local heat index above 110 degrees for several days.
The non-emergency number for Bulloch County Public Safety is (912) 489-1661 if people need to find a place to cool off.
Futch encouraged people without air conditioning to “go to the Mall and sit” or perhaps the Statesboro Library on South Main St. or another cooler place to spend the hottest hours of the day when the temperatures climb.
Wynn suggested checking on elderly relatives or neighbors or other “more vulnerable” people to ensure they are cool enough. Also, for everyone exposed to the high heat, “wear light clothing and stay hydrated,” he advised.
Futch said the Greers’ closest relatives were in Effingham County.
Those in need of ways to cool their homes can also reach out to local churches and charities for help. John Long, with Christian Social Ministries, said “while we don’t have a bunch of free fans in stock,” anyone who reaches out to the ministry seeking assistance with cooling may get help with making their home safe and cool. Christian Social Ministries may be reached at (912) 489-2407.
Temperatures for Bulloch County for the next week are predicted to be in the low 90’s, according to weather.com, but the temperatures from last Friday through Monday were in the mid-90s, with heat indices reaching past 100 degrees.
Temperatures inside a home, especially a mobile home with no air conditioner, can soar much higher, Futch said.
“And sometimes box fans like (with no air conditioner) that often just stir hot air.”
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 243-7815.