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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2003

    Unhappy Man, 93, Freezes to Death in Home

    BAY CITY, Mich. (Jan. 26) - A 93-year-old man froze to death inside his home just days after the municipal power company restricted his use of electricity because of unpaid bills, officials said.
    Marvin E. Schur died "a slow, painful death," said Kanu Virani, Oakland County's deputy chief medical examiner, who performed the autopsy.

    Neighbors discovered Schur's body on Jan. 17. They said the indoor temperature was below 32 degrees at the time, The Bay City Times reported Monday.
    "Hypothermia shuts the whole system down, slowly," Virani said. "It's not easy to die from hypothermia without first realizing your fingers and toes feel like they're burning."
    A city utility worker had installed a "limiter" device to restrict the use of electricity at Schur's home on Jan. 13, said Bay City Manager Robert ...

    The body was discovered by neighbor George Pauwels Jr., who said Schur had almost $1,100 in unpaid electric bills. Pauwels told the newspaper he saw cash clipped to those bills on the kitchen table on the day he found Schur's body.
    "His furnace was not running, the insides of his windows were full of ice the morning we found him," Pauwels told the Bay City News.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    this is absolutely horrible and makes me incredibly sad.
    Prayers for that poor man. May he now sleep warm in heaven.

  3. #3
    It's disgusting that they did this to him in the dead of winter. Someone should be charged with a crime. I am sorry, but you do not cut power to an elderly person's home in Michigan in January. They blamed the neighbors for not checking on him??? How are the neighbors to know the utility company was "restricting" his power? The utility company should be ashamed of themselves.

    I thought it was illegal for the power companies to cut utilities in the winter months in cold weather climates.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Chicago burbs
    I just saw that, is that just inexcusible or what? Not only with the utility company, but neighbors, the community? I saw the pic of his home in one of the articles- no more than the standard 50' width midwestern lot between homes. He was 93 with no children and his wife was deceased.

    It takes a village.... if the village still exists.

    Very sad.

    A grandfather is someone with silver in his hair and gold in his heart. ~Author Unknown

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    "I've said this before and some of my colleagues have said this: Neighbors need to keep an eye on neighbors," Belleman said. "When they think there's something wrong, they should contact the appropriate agency or city department." Schur had no children and his wife had died several years ago."

    (from above link)
    This story is so sad, it's a shame no one checked up on him, he was 93 years old!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Penn's woods
    I hate to hear this. Bless his heart. Doesn't Michigan have one of those programs that help the elderly and poor pay their bills so that they can have heat during the winter?

    If not, this would be a good time to put something in place to help so that no one else has to die in this way.

    So Sad.
    "Three things in human life are important: The first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind." ~ Henry James

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Welllllll, no doubt the old man lived in a ME ME ME neighborhood. Winter has almost turned into Spring. Neighbors do their 'thing' and make no effort to extend themselves to others, much less an elderly man or person alone in this world.

    HOW did he get his groceries, was he mobile, did he drive, who took him to the grocery store or did his shopping for him?

    There are several areas of disconnection here, the power company certainly as the old mans last line of defence against the winter.

    The neighbors, for apparently disconnecting from this man, and not even knowing HOW or WHAT they 'might' have done to help him in some way.

    There perhaps should be some sort of notation on 'a' bill to indicate the AGE and situation of their customers. IF the power company let his bill slide until it was that huge, I blame them for letting this whole thing just 'happen' in the DEAD of winter.

    Surely the power company could afford an ombudsman to serve the community, particularly in severe WINTER CONDITIONS. Here is where volunteerism should be in great play. The billing department of the power company in CHARGE OF CUT OFFS should have OR create a system that would prevent this from ever happening again.

    Should be programmable for such circumstances, and for the people who have health needs and equipment that requires electricity. Bet they have it covered for the health needy, but not the elderly or infirm.

    I have to wonder HOW he had 'physical money -bills, to pay his bill. His thinking at that advanced age may have played a part here, he should have had some help 'in the winter' from somewhere, friend, neighbor, power company, community. Someone to help him with his bill paying, someone who really cared about 'him'.

    May he rest in peace, with his dear departed wife.

    Opinions expressed by me, are mine, based on life experience, and known facts of any given case.

    """I am just a pixel in the universal plan."""

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Great Lakes
    From the mayor: "Mayor Charles M. Brunner expressed regret over Schur's death on Monday, saying the city will continue to evaluate what happened to make sure it doesn't happen again.

    "It's just unfortunate that this gentleman didn't reach out," Brunner said. "We would have been there. We would have pointed him in the right direction or put him on some sort of payment plan."


    I do believe Michigan law states the utility companies have to contact elderly people in person if it's going to shut off power. Mr. Schur had a regulator installed that he was supposed to reset. I think the city has a lot of explaining to do.

    This happened to an elderly lady in a town close to me last year and the power company had to pay her estate and a huge fine to the state of Michigan.
    Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest. ~ Mark Twain

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Nestled Deep in Southern Hospitality
    Quote Originally Posted by LovingTheChaos View Post
    It's disgusting that they did this to him in the dead of winter. Someone should be charged with a crime. I am sorry, but you do not cut power to an elderly person's home in Michigan in January. They blamed the neighbors for not checking on him??? How are the neighbors to know the utility company was "restricting" his power? The utility company should be ashamed of themselves.

    I thought it was illegal for the power companies to cut utilities in the winter months in cold weather climates.
    There certainly should be some type of law against doing this. When doing so the power companies create a life threatening experience and because of their implementations this man has now lost his life.

    IMO there will be many more to wind up just like this poor 93 year old man. Times are so hard for so many now and I am sure others are way behind on their electric bills.

    "Pardon Our Noise, It's the Sound of Freedom" USMC New River Air Station, Jacksonville, North Carolina

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Lake Charles, Louisiana
    This breaks my heart. We have programs for the elderly here. They take a dollar out of every one of my bills for the elderly because I signed up for it. Although you have to worry about heat related deaths not freezing deaths here.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    The great white north
    What company did this? Does anyone have an email address for this company? I would like to write a scathing letter and yes they should be looked into by LE. The poor people are the ones who suffer and we should all advocate for the elderly and disabled.

  12. #12
    jnTexas's Avatar
    jnTexas is offline Can't wait for softball and baseball to start :-)
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Splendora, Texas
    Wow I have never heard of a power regulator being put on someone's house. when it get really cold here in Texas or really hot the power companies are not allowed to turn of the power.
    This is so sad. This man had no one. Why???

  13. #13
    Here is the website of the utility company - boy did it take a long time to load!


    I am sure there is contact information on the site - and it appears that others have the same idea.
    eta -
    Looks like the utility is owned by the city - so the mayor has some explaining to do himself.

    And yes, while the neighbors could have helped - depending on how well insulated his home was, this man could have frozen to death in a matter of hours. I don't think people realize just how cold it has been up there, especially over night. If he did not ask them for help when the power went out, how are they to know? I don't knock on my neighbors doors every day either (of course, I am out in the country, so it isn't like I have neighbors 15 feet away from me).

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    The South, USA
    That is so sad. There was ice on the insides of the windows. I can't imagine how guilty the neighbors must feel. The power company? I doubt they feel anything.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    The only way I can imagine neighbors could do anything is if he told them or if he was screaming for help. This is squarely the fault of those who limited his power...I'm just disgusted.

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