Hundreds believed dead in heat wave despite efforts to help

Salem Fire Department paramedics and employees of Falck Northwest ambulances respond to a heat exposure call during a heatwave, Saturday, June 26.

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — As forecasters warned of record-breaking temperatures in the Pacific Northwest and western Canada, officials set up cooling centers, distributed water to the homeless and took other steps.

Still, hundreds of people likely died. The death toll in Oregon reached 70.

In Canada, British Columbia’s chief coroner says there were reports of at least 486 “sudden and unexpected deaths” between Friday and Wednesday.

In Multnomah County, the oldest person to die was 97 and the youngest 44.

Authorities there turned nine air-conditioned county libraries into cooling centers, where between Friday and Monday, 7,600 people cooled off. But officials acknowledge it wasn’t enough, and say there are lessons to be learned.


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