Heat wave now blamed for 12 Chicago-area deaths

July 25, 2011

The Associated Press

(AP/Nam Y. Huh)
Emma Davis cools off before a baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs, Wednesday, in Chicago.

The recent heat wave in the Chicago area has now claimed 12 lives.

Autopsy reports released Monday by the Cook County medical examiner's office show heat stress was a secondary factor in the death of a 78-year-old woman. The primary cause of her death was heart disease.

Prior to Monday the death toll was 11. Authorities say most people killed by the heat have pre-existing conditions that are made worse by high temperatures. The last similar heat wave in the region in 1995 resulted in more than 750 deaths over a five-day period.

The Chicago area has since developed a heat response plan that includes more cooling centers and well-being checks to the elderly.

The National Weather Service is predicting highs in the upper 80s for Tuesday.