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article imageMichigan man freezes to death after electric company cuts power

By Chris V. Thangham     Jan 26, 2009 in Crime
A senior citizen froze to death inside his home in Michigan after his electric company cut the power off for unpaid electricity bills. The chief medical examiner reported that he died “a slow and painful death.”
Marvin E. Schur, 93, froze to death at his home. His neighbors found the body on January 17. They reported that the indoor temperature was below 32 degrees.
Schur owed Bay City Electric Light & Power more than $1,000 in unpaid electric bills.
The company had installed a “limiter” device that restricts electricity in a home if any bills are unpaid, exceeding $1,000. The company had installed this device on January 13. Between January 13 and January 17, Schur must have frozen to death, investigators say.
The autopsy report revealed that Schur died of hypothermia. Kanu Virani, Oakland County’s deputy chief medical examiner, who performed the autopsy told AP:
Hypothermia shuts the whole system down, slowly...It's not easy to die from hypothermia without first realizing your fingers and toes feel like they're burning.
The Bay City Electric Light & Power told AP that he owed more than $1,000 in unpaid electric bills. The company spokesman Robert Belleman was not sure whether anyone from his company called him personally after the limiter device was installed.
George Pauwels, Jr. discovered the body and noted that Schur’s furnace was not running, and the insides of the windows were covered with ice.
Belleman said city workers keep the limiter on houses for 10 days; if the resident doesn’t pay the dues by that time, they shut off the power entirely. Belleman added the company will review their policies after Schur’s death but defended his company and said that they didn’t do anything wrong.
Schur’s wife died several years ago and they had no children.
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