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Kids Die in Heat-Related Accidents

July 6, 1999

Heat exposure is being blamed for the deaths of two children who climbed into cars as they played with siblings during the long Fourth of July weekend.

In addition, the deaths of a toddler left in a car and an adult were blamed on the heat in Chicago, two adults died of heat-related causes in Philadelphia, and the deaths of a mother and daughter in Newport, Pa., also were believed to be due to the weather.

In Omaha, Neb., 2 1/2-year-old Arnold Guzman died Monday after his 5-year-old brother helped him into a car, shut the door and went off to play. Authorities don’t know how long Arnold was inside before his mother found him. The windows were up and temperatures inside were over 100 degrees.

``A 2 1/2-year-old can’t easily get out of the car, and the kids were apparently playing in the backyard and forgot about him,″ police Sgt. Dan Cisar said.

In Masontown, Pa., a 2-year-old boy died Sunday while ducking down in the passenger seat of the family car during a game of hide-and-seek.

When Cody Britt’s sisters, age 6 and 3, could not find him, the family began searching for him. On a second check of the car, they opened the passenger door and the boy tumbled out.

Cody had been inside the car for at least an hour, with outside temperatures in the high 90s, and the boy’s asthma condition made the heat particularly dangerous, Fayette County Coroner Phillip Reilly said.

In the Chicago suburb of Villa Park, 2-year-old Melanie Auriene died Sunday after she was left in a closed car for about two hours. Police said Melanie fell asleep in the car while a family group returned from a parade and was left inside with the doors and windows shut. The girl’s father found her in the car when he arrived to pick her up about two hours later, police said.

No charges had been filed.

A 49-year-old Chicago man collapsed and died Sunday with a body temperature of 107 degrees. DeVelle Fredrick also had hypertension and cardiovascular disease, the Cook County medical examiner’s office said.

Philadelphia officials said 85-year-old Alice O’Malley and a 67-year-old man whose name was not immediately released died Monday as the heat reached 100 in the city.

Pennsylvania state police said Helen Mae Freet, 80, and her daughter, Rose Marie, 54, were found dead Monday in their home in Newport, about 25 miles northwest of Harrisburg.

Relatives found the women, who lived in a house that had no air conditioning and only one small fan in a window. Both also had medical conditions that may have contributed to their deaths, police said.

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