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California Heat Wave Death Toll Rises

One hundred degrees temperatures in California this week have had a deadly impact with at least 116 deaths attributed to the heat. Authorities discuss how they are helping those suffering.

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    And finally tonight, the deadly impact of the California heat wave. Jeffrey Brown has our story.


    For the first time in two weeks, the temperature across most of California fell just below 100 degrees today. But the death toll from the record-breaking heat wave continued to rise.

    PHIL LARSON, Chair, Fresno Board of Supervisors: It's straining our emergency resources terribly. Our emergency resources are at full tilt and trying to stay up with it.


    Hardest hit was the central valley, where the thermometer spiked at 115 degrees earlier this week. More than 20 suspected heat-related deaths are under investigation in Fresno alone. Most of the victims were elderly.

  • DR. DALE ROBBINS, Kern County Medical Center:

    All of the body's systems, the cardio-respiratory system, the nervous system, can be impaired and can basically shut down.


    Yesterday, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visited a center in Los Angeles where residents could come to cool off. He warned that more heat could be on the way.

    GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), California: Let's all work together now this summer, because there will be a few heat waves coming. There is people like us all here that are, you know, fit and we can handle if all of a sudden our air conditioning goes out or if something goes wrong at the house, but there's a lot of vulnerable citizens that can't because they're sick and they're fragile.


    Some county officials around the state said there wasn't enough done to prevent the deaths.

  • HENRY PEREA, Fresno County Supervisor:

    We needed to raise the level of awareness, and in my mind we didn't do that soon enough.