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  • Veteran freezes to death

    93-year-old freezes to death at home after utility firm limits power use

    Mon Jan 26, 4:33 PM
    By The Associated Press

    BAY CITY, Mich. - A 93-year-old man froze to death inside his home just days after the municipal power company restricted his use of electricity because of unpaid bills, officials said.

    Marvin Schur died "a slow, painful death," said Kanu Virani, Oakland County's deputy chief medical examiner, who performed the autopsy.

    Neighbours discovered Schur's body on Jan. 17. They said the indoor temperature was below zero Celsius at the time, the Bay City Times reported Monday.

    "Hypothermia shuts the whole system down, slowly," Virani said. "It's not easy to die from hypothermia without first realizing your fingers and toes feel like they're burning."

    Schur owed Bay City Electric Light & Power more than $1,000 in unpaid electric bills, Bay City manager Robert Belleman told The Associated Press on Monday.

    A city utility worker had installed a "limiter" device to restrict the use of electricity at Schur's home on Jan. 13, Belleman said. The device limits power reaching a home and blows out like a fuse if consumption rises past a set level. Power is not restored until the device is reset.

    The limiter was tripped sometime between the time of installation and the discovery of Schur's body, Belleman said. He didn't know if anyone had made personal contact with Schur to explain how the device works.

    Schur's body was discovered by neighbour George Pauwels.

    "His furnace was not running, the insides of his windows were full of ice the morning we found him," Pauwels told the newspaper.

    Belleman said city workers keep the limiter on houses for 10 days, then shut off power entirely if the homeowner hasn't paid utility bills or arranged to do so.

    He said Bay City Electric Light & Power's policies will be reviewed, but he didn't believe the city did anything wrong.

    "I've said this before and some of my colleagues have said this: Neighbours need to keep an eye on neighbours," Belleman said. "When they think there's something wrong, they should contact the appropriate agency or city department."

    Schur had no children and his wife had died several years ago.

    Bay City is on Saginaw Bay, just north of the city of Saginaw in central Michigan.

    Long live the almighty dollar and the mentality that money comes before people.

  • #2
    Re: Veteran freezes to death

    I don't see that they did anything wrong. Do you propose that electricity be given away for free? Weren't there other places that Mr. Schur could have gone to stay warm?

    Long live emotional tirades and the mentality that capitalism is evil.
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    • #3
      Re: Veteran freezes to death

      Generally I would say pay your bill and this wouldn't happen.

      But they really should have known a 93 year old man was living there and maybe taken some precautions. What? I don't know. Maybe tell his neighbors? Maybe have this limiter so it signals the power company when it goes off so they can call the authorities in a situation like this.

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      • #4
        Re: Veteran freezes to death

        Originally posted by CingularDuality View Post
        I don't see that they did anything wrong. Do you propose that electricity be given away for free? Weren't there other places that Mr. Schur could have gone to stay warm?

        Long live emotional tirades and the mentality that capitalism is evil.
        Why did they shut a 93 year old off without contacting the proper authorities? Were they unaware of the effects of hypothermia? When it is a matter of life or death I would say that they should have erred on the side of caution. Do you propose that this veteran's life wasn't worth a few measly dollars? That is the value of a guy that fought for your right to say he's worthless of a simple considerate gesture?

        Yes, capitalism is heartless and here is another instance that demonstrates just that. There is nothing purely emotional about what I am saying. And even if I was emotional there is nothing wrong with feeling for your fellow man. Feelings are what makes us human. Just because you have feelings it doesn't mean your opinion is any less informed or worthy.

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        • #5
          Re: Veteran freezes to death

          What does him being a veteran have anything to do with this.

          If the guy was too old to realize he was cold, maybe in the natural course of things it was time for him to go. When one fails to intelligently preserve their own life there isn't much anyone can do for them.

          Or maybe it was done by his design.

          It makes me sad to think about a lonely old man freezing to death with icicles from his nose but there is more to this story. They way it was written leads me to believe there were details intentionally excluded to sensationalize.

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          • #6
            Re: Veteran freezes to death

            Originally posted by CingularDuality View Post
            I don't see that they did anything wrong. Do you propose that electricity be given away for free? Weren't there other places that Mr. Schur could have gone to stay warm?

            Long live emotional tirades and the mentality that capitalism is evil.

            would this story have gotten as much attention had he not been a vet? I guessing not. Sure i do feel sorry for the guy, terrible loose, but what is the paper trying to achieve by titling the story like they did and reporting about it?
            that sounds like a good idea trooper.
            -Vulcan

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            • #7
              Re: Veteran freezes to death

              The vet isn't the only one that this happened to. An elderly woman here in Michigan had her power shut off and died. I can't remember the story fully but she was quite old. I'm not saying capitalism is evil, but this is a lose-lose situation.




              "Certainly, being bombarded with 105 millimeter shells is bad. But the knowledge that you've armed your enemy thus, with your sloth and your ineptitude, unfolds in the heart like a poison." Tycho from Penny Arcade in reference to the nuke in MW2

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              • #8
                Re: Veteran freezes to death

                This is insane.

                Power companies aren't in the business of taking care of people when it's cold. They're in the business of providing power. Churches, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and friendly neighbors are in the business of taking care of people who can't afford to pay their electric bill. Let's not confuse the issue here.

                How was the power company supposed to know that it was a 93 year old man living there? Power companies make arrangements for payment plans, why didn't the old man give 'em a call?

                This is complete BS. I think the guy might've just said "screw it" and went to bed knowing he would never wake up.
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                • #9
                  Re: Veteran freezes to death

                  Originally posted by Hambergler View Post
                  If the guy was too old to realize he was cold, maybe in the natural course of things it was time for him to go. When one fails to intelligently preserve their own life there isn't much anyone can do for them.
                  One of the symptoms of Hypothermia is that you don't feel cold, you feel like you are too hot. It kills a lot of people as they think they are burning up, so they take their clothes off to cool down, then die.
                  |TG-Irr| westyfield

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                  • #10
                    Re: Veteran freezes to death

                    The problem is that corporations have been given certain individual rights through the law. At the same time many of these corporations want to claim that they do not have the same moral responsibilities of an individual.

                    This upsets some.

                    I don't think the issue is as simple as either side here is portraying. Cutting off a service if the service isn't paid for isn't inherently bad. But cutting off a service when doing so endangers an individuals well being is not a neutral action either.

                    If the owner of a private power company decided it just didn't want to do it's thing any longer and cut off power to all it's customers during a deep freeze would that be fine? No. Or if a power company decided that it wanted to increase the price tenfold and cut off all those that could afford the new price that would also be seen as a bad thing.

                    If I am walking down the street and see a person dying and know I could save that person at no real risk to me and I refuse do I not deserve at least some contempt?

                    When people die just because they don't have enough money that says something. In this particular case it isn't just the "evil power companies". The old guy has some responsibility for his own well being. The neighbors and community organizations also have some responsibility if they claim to be caring individuals. Even the power company has SOME responsibility. And if anybody reading the story finds the situation disgusting they also have some responsibility.

                    The power company installed a device that knew could cause loss of power to the persons house. They also knew that the temperatures where such that even a few hours of loss of power could cause harm to somebody in the house. They should know that if a person is sleeping when the limiter trips the person may not have a chance to save themselves. Going to sleep and having the temperature drop on you quickly can be deadly for even a healthy adult.

                    If you don't like what happened then contact your lawmakers and power company and find out what you can do. Most power utilities and local communities have programs that allow you to donate some money to cover those that can't afford power. I bet if everybody that cared could donate a few extra bucks a month did donate a few extra bucks this kind of event would even more rare.

                    Of course it could be like Cing pointed out. The old guy was just fed up with all the heartless, uncaring people and companies in the country and decided death would be better than living another day. If so it was his choice.
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                    • #11
                      Re: Veteran freezes to death

                      Originally posted by Trooper View Post
                      Sure i do feel sorry for the guy, terrible loose, but what is the paper trying to achieve by titling the story like they did and reporting about it?
                      That is easy.... "SELL MORE PAPERS" bad news sells.



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                      • #12
                        Re: Veteran freezes to death

                        I've had my power turned off once in my life and they couldn't do it until they verified that there was no one in the house hooked up to life saving devices that would be affected. Is this a company policy or something required by the state government?
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                        • #13
                          Re: Veteran freezes to death

                          Originally posted by westyfield View Post
                          One of the symptoms of Hypothermia is that you don't feel cold, you feel like you are too hot. It kills a lot of people as they think they are burning up, so they take their clothes off to cool down, then die.
                          You have mistaken hypothermia for drunkstripperthermia.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Veteran freezes to death

                            Wouldn't it be easier to just report cases where people can't pay to the authorities as a default? If the person cannot pay there is something wrong and electricity isn't exactly a luxury, especially when there are temperature extremes. What harm would come from notifying a social worker to pass by and see if the person has fallen on hard times or is abusing drugs/booze and has stopped caring for self and/or family or ??? You could help someone remain a productive and contributing member of society. Another option is to offer people in that age bracket to take the home as collateral and allow them to live in it until they die. Now any of those options would be a lot more humane and win win.

                            It strikes me as extremely odd that a society has all these laws in place to protect the well being of animals when humans are not given a second thought.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Veteran freezes to death

                              Originally posted by Lusitano Louco View Post
                              Wouldn't it be easier to just report cases where people can't pay to the authorities as a default? If the person cannot pay there is something wrong and electricity isn't exactly a luxury, especially when there are temperature extremes. What harm would come from notifying a social worker to pass by and see if the person has fallen on hard times or is abusing drugs/booze and has stopped caring for self and/or family or ??? You could help someone remain a productive and contributing member of society. Another option is to offer people in that age bracket to take the home as collateral and allow them to live in it until they die. Now any of those options would be a lot more humane and win win.

                              It strikes me as extremely odd that a society has all these laws in place to protect the well being of animals when humans are not given a second thought.
                              holy crap imagine the out cry had this guy had a dog. and ive heard it said your jail time is longer if you beat your dog, compared to your kids.
                              that sounds like a good idea trooper.
                              -Vulcan

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