Weather

Houston records its first heat-related death of 2023

A man died from hyperthermia on June 24 at a Houston hospital, marking the first confirmed heat-related death in the city this year. It was at least the second in the region, which continues to cope with triple-digit temperatures.

Texas Heat Wave
AP Photo/Eric Gay, File
FILE – Kayak and canoe outfitter Jessie Fuentes walks along the Rio Grande under a warm sun Thursday, July 6, 2023.

The hot weather that has plagued the Houston region during the last month has claimed the lives of at least two area men.

Victor Ramos died from hyperthermia at a Houston hospital on June 24, according to information released by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, which serves as the medical examiner in the city and surrounding county. Ramos was 67 years old and lived in a home without air conditioning, according to a Monday report by ABC News.

The heat-related death is the first confirmed in Harris County and at least the second in the region as Houston resident Felipe Pascual, 46, died from hyperthermia June 16, according to chief investigator John Florence of the Galveston County Medical Examiner's Office. Florence said last month that Pascual was working an outdoor construction job in Fort Bend County when he collapsed and was taken to a hospital in Pearland, where he was pronounced dead.

The Harris County ME's office did not immediately respond to an email and voicemail Monday seeking additional information. Roxanne Phatak, a spokesperson for the agency, wrote in a July 3 email that it had seen "no classified heat related deaths for 2023."

Ramos' death was determined to be accidental, according to his case file on the website for the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, which shows that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was a contributory cause of death.

Hyperthermia is a condition in which the body becomes dangerously overheated and its heat-regulating mechanisms are not functioning properly, typically in response to prolonged hot and humid weather.

The Associated Press reported last month that there were 13 other heat-related deaths in Texas in June, including 11 in Webb County, where Laredo is the county seat.

Much of the state has been coping with hot weather since mid-June, with daily high temperatures in Houston consistently reaching 100 degrees or more. Heat index values have regularly been even higher, prompting the National Weather Service's Houston-Galveston office to issue heat advisories and extreme heat warnings.

High temperatures of 100 or more are forecasted for every day this week in Houston, and little to no rain is expected.