‘They basically froze to death’, Two Portland residents die in winter weather

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PORTLAND, Tenn. (WKRN) – The winter weather took a toll on Tennessee, claiming the lives of ten people, according to Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA). The latest two deaths reported out of Portland. 

“They basically froze to death,” Sumner County EMS Chief Greg Miller told News 2. 

Two homes, two victims, both involving issues with heat and power, according to Miller. When crews responded, he said temperatures inside both homes were in the 20s. 

Miller said the two deaths involve an elderly man and an elderly woman from Portland. One resident lost power and the other was found on the floor by a wood stove that had burned out, according to Miller. In one case, a family called for a welfare check because they were worried about their elderly loved one, but couldn’t get to them due to road conditions. 

The deaths were reported to the Tennessee Department of Health and then to Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. 

“I can confirm we had ten weather related deaths form the winter storm last week in Tennessee, that information is confirmed from the Tennessee Department of Health,”  Dean Flener with TEMA told News 2. 

He said severe weather can pop up from nowhere and quickly take a deadly turn. “It’s of course very, very sad circumstances that we have events rather it’s winter storm, tornadoes, floods and we see a loss of life and it’s always tragic,” said Flener. 

In the aftermath of tragedies like these, agencies are reminding you to make a plan for you and your family, especially as we approach severe weather season.

Miller suggested using a phone tree system, to make sure all neighbors are checked on. 

TEMA advises having an emergency plan and kit in place for up to 5 to 7 days, especially for those that live in rural parts of the state. 

“That includes having some emergency resources and supplies water to drink, food, battery operated weather radios for when the power goes out, chargers for your electronic devices and other types of resources to keep yourself and your family safe.” 

For more information click here.  

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