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Two deaths are under investigation at an East Liverpool senior complex

EAST LIVERPOOL — An investigation is under way into the deaths of two city men who lived in a low-income senior housing complex next to city hall.

While police don’t suspect either man fell victim to foul play, it is too early to rule out negligence as a contributing factor to the deaths.

Fire crews were sent around noon Thursday to the Oddfellows Temple Apartments, which is located at 120 W. 6th St. directly next to East Liverpool City Hall. Residents there in the main structure complained of the unbearable heat that they had been enduring for days.

Interior temperatures reached in excess of 99 degrees, and the building had no functional windows to ventilate the structure because of its age.

The residents were found deceased in their respective apartments — after having last been seen alive the day before, according to witnesses.

Firefighters determined the building conditions were unliveable due to the heat. They directed building management to put residents up in a local hotel if they were unable to find some place to stay.

One man had been staying in his vehicle due to nonfunctioning air conditioning, which had been set for repair.

Some went to stay with relatives. But a large number was taken to stay at a local hotel thanks to local good samaritans.

Tri-State Cab Co. owner Amy Hissom recently shared a story of how they learned about the tragedy going on across the street. She explained there is a former company driver who comes across the street to visit the office worker. He had been electing to sleep in his vehicle, which was cooler than his apartment.

City Fire Chief Bill Jones directed all inquiries of the investigation to police Capt. Darin Morgan.

Local churches, the Way Station, Destiny House and East Liverpool police are providing meals for the tenants, who currently are at a Newell hotel.

The building, which has served as the Oddfellow Temple since 1905, was converted to low-income apartments for senior citizens in 2000 and is owned by Columbus-based BCHF Oddfellows LLC. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

The Columbiana County Coroner’s Office confirmed the bodies of the two elderly men, whose names have not been released, have been sent to Cuyahoga County for autopsies and a spokeswoman expects the results back in three to six months.

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