10th heat-related victim had A/C turned off - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

10th heat-related victim had A/C turned off

By Jason Miles - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A window unit was running again when we stopped by Curtis Dockery's house on Warren Street.  Health officials said it was unplugged at the time of the 77-year-old's death.

"I saw his paper, three days paper, in the yard," said neighbor Arthur Fitzpatrick.

That was when he became concerned.

"Probably could have done more," said Fitzpatrick.  "Even though I did knock on the door."

Dockery's body was discovered Wednesday night after relatives were alerted.  We're told the heat was unbearable inside the house where he lived alone.

"Several appliances were disconnected inside the house," Fitzpatrick said, "including the air conditioner."

Dockery's sister did not want to appear on camera, but she said she and the family repeatedly urged him to turn on his air conditioner.

Those who knew him know the reason he probably had it off.

"I feel he may have tried to save money," said Fitzpatrick.

An employee at a castle-like convenience store next door recalled seeing Dockery in his front yard earlier this week.

"I waved at him and he waved back," said Ron Ahmed.

He said he will miss their conversations.

"He gave me stories about how this area used to be and who built the castle," said Ahmed.

Dockery's death may have provided a final lesson to take the extreme heat seriously.

"With the heat being what it is," said Fitzpatrick, "you just can't take a chance."

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