WWII Veteran Freezes To Death In Own Home
Bay City Electric & Light Restricted Power To Man's Home After Not Paying Bills
POSTED: 2:20 pm EST January 26, 2009
UPDATED: 6:56 am EST January 27, 2009
BAY CITY, Mich. -- Officials in central Michigan say a 93-year-old man who owed more than $1,000 in unpaid electric bills froze to death inside his home -- where the municipal power company had restricted his use of electricity.
Neighbors and friends of Marvin Schur want answers as to how this could happen.
ďNow that we do know it was hypothermia, thereís a whole bunch of feelings that Iíve got going through me,Ē said Jim Herndon, a neighbor of Schurís. ďThereís anger, for the city and the electrical company.Ē
Bay City officials said changes are on the way in an attempt to not let another instance like this happen again.
An autopsy determined Schur, 93, died from hypothermia in the home he lived in for years.
Bay City Electric Light and Power sent Schur a shutoff notice through the mail a few weeks ago. Then crews placed a shutoff notice on his front door. A few days later, Schur was found by neighbors.
Bay City Electric Light and Power, which is owned by the city, said a limiter was placed on Schurís electrical line. The device limits the power that reaches a home, and it blows out like a fuse if power consumption rises past a set level. The manager of Bay City said the limiter was tripped sometime between the time of installation and the discovery of the man's body.
The city manager said city workers keep the limiter on a house for 10 days, then shut off power entirely if the homeowner hasn't paid utility bills or arranged to do so.
A medical examiner who conducted the autopsy on Schur told TV5 and WNEM.com that Schur died a painful death due to the hypothermia.
Dr. Kanu Varani has done hundreds of autopsies, and he said heíd never seen a person die of hypothermia indoors.
A neighbor who lives across the street from Schur is angered that the city didnít personally notify the elderly man about his utility situation. Schurís neighbor, Herndon, said Schur had a utility bill on his kitchen table with a large amount of money clipped to it, with the intention of paying that bill.
Right now the city said the situation is still under investigation. Marvin Schur was a World War II veteran.