Milwaukee Man Dies After Lighting Fires Inside Home in Attempt to Stay Warm After Electricity Turned Off

A 61-year-old man has died in his Milwaukee home after lighting fires in order to keep warm when his electricity was switched off.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed they are investigating a possible hypothermia or carbon monoxide poisoning death of the man who was found at an address in the 3000 block of South 8th Street on Wednesday.

"Subject was lighting fires in various containers in his home to stay warm after the electricity was turned off," the medical office confirmed. An autopsy for the unnamed 61-year-old is due to take place.

Temperatures in Milwaukee this week have been as low as around 26 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is not known how long the power had been off inside the man's house. According to WISN, a gas meter on the side of the home indicated that We Energies inspected it on November 13.

"We are saddened by the news of this man's death and send our condolences to his family and friends," the energy company said in a statement.

"Our records indicate power was being supplied to the customer's home, however, there may have been an issue with customer-owned equipment inside the home."

Neighbors have described their shock at the news of the 61-year-old's death.

"It's hard to hear that about the guy. He's old, you know. He could be my dad too, so it's sad," Johanna Valenciano told WISN.

It's not clear how long the man was dead inside his home before he was discovered. Valenciano said the last time he saw him was on Sunday, December 15, when he was in a truck with a woman.

Authorities are warning people of the dangers of starting fires in their home in the wake of the man's death.

"If they're using a stove or are burning something in their home, that creates an issue of carbon monoxide," Battalion Chief Schuyler Belott with the Milwaukee Fire Department told Fox 6 Now. "If you're burning open fires in your home, not only is it dangerous for the carbon monoxide, but it could create a fire hazard that could impact your own home, but also to homes around you."

"If you know people that may not be able to care for themselves, as well, check in with them—make sure they're doing OK, and that hopefully prevents them from heating their home in a dangerous manner," Belott added.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office has been contacted for further comment.

Milwaukee
(File photo) A lone women braves the cold as she walks past a sewer vent in the morning February 5, 2007 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A 61-year-old man has died after lighting fires in his home in an attempt to stay warm. Darren Hauck/Getty

Elsewhere, the identities of two other men who died as a result of hypothermia in November have been confirmed by the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office.

Rogaciano Leon-Alcala, 55, died on November 6 after being found in a parking lot near 11th Street and Greenfield Avenue in freezing temperatures.

Keith Howe, 41, died four days later after being found partly undressed in the backyard of a home near 27th Street and Whitaker Avenue. Both men are reported to have been homeless.

Milwaukee Man Dies After Lighting Fires Inside Home in Attempt to Stay Warm After Electricity Turned Off | U.S.