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Deaths From Summer Heat Way Up In Southern Nevada

National Park Service

Boulder Basin at Lake Mead

The summer heat killed five times as many people in southern Nevada last year as it did three years earlier.

Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg said 137 people died from the heat in 2017, up from 26 in 2014.

The coroner also said violent deaths—from homicide, suicide and car accidents—typically increase in the summer as well. He estimated the increase at about 10-14 percent.

Fudenberg doesn’t know why the increase happened in 2017, but said a big factor in most of the death is broken air conditioning units for the elderly. The number also includes a growing number of homeless who die from exposure to the sun and heat.

Drownings for the last five years, he added, have remained steady at around 30 per year. About half of those happen at Lake Mead, where summer boaters and swimmers flock in the summer. The other half, he said, typically occur in pools and hot tubs at homes.

(This interview originally aired July 2)

John Fudenberg, Clark County coroner

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.