By David Brand
The death of a 71-year-old Whitestone man serves as a tragic reminder of how dangerous heat waves can be, especially for senior citizens.
Last Friday, police found James Wallace, a 71-year-old Army veteran, dead in his car near the intersection of 149th St. and 25th Ave. in Whitestone. An autopsy concluded that he died of hyperthermia, or elevated body temperature, a spokesperson from the city medical examiner’s office told the Daily News.
“He was a sweetheart and never bothered anyone,” Wallace’s friend Andy Anderson told the Daily News. “He was a good boy from the old times.”
Wallace’s death was the first heat-related death in the city in 2018. Last year, the city recorded nine heated-related deaths.
The City’s official heat advisory remained in effect until Thursday night at 8 pm with temperatures set to drop to the low-80s today, Saturday and Sunday.
During heatwaves, the New York City Emergency Management Department and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene encourage New Yorkers to drink fluids, check on neighbors, family and friends — especially senior citizens — and remain in cool places, including pools, air-conditioned stores, malls and movie theaters.
The Emergency Management Department kept the city’s cooling centers open until last night. To find a cooling center near you, call 311 or use the NYC Cooling Center Finder at nyc.gov/beattheheat.
“Seniors and those with chronic health problems or mental health conditions are at an increased risk,” the Office of Emergency Management said in a statement. “Homes without air conditioning can be much hotter than outdoor temperatures.”