Deadly heat

Three area people, including an elderly woman and the son she shared a house with, succumbed to the heat wave that engulfed the Midwest last month with heat indexes above 100 degrees.

The circumstances in the first case were unusual. The mother and son kept their windows closed because the son suffered from asthma. The Cape Girardeau house was not air conditioned. The occupants depended on fans to keep them cool.

Health officials says fans merely recirculate hot air in a closed house and could speed dehydration.

The bodies were found on the floor of the house after a family friend was unable to get through because of a busy signal on their phone. Coroner John Clifton speculated that 63-year-old Clarence "Roger" Rogers left his wheelchair in an attempt to help his mother, Glenda Rogers, who was in her 80s.

In response to their deaths, a neighbor offered to open her house to anyone needing respite from the heat.

In Scott City, Brian F. Licare was found dead in his small travel trailer the following day. The trailer had an air conditioner that was blowing warm air when Licare's body was discovered. Coroner Scott Amick said the 43-year-old man had medical problems likely made worse by the heat.

A total of 10 heat-related deaths were recorded in Missouri during the hot spell. Most people's lives these days are so air conditioned that the deadliness of high temperatures is seldom a concern. These tragic deaths remind us that extra care must be taken of the most fragile among us.