Air conditioning repairman died in Arizona attic as temperatures soared, officials say

An Arizona repairman died in a family’s attic on Thursday, likely as a result of extreme heat in the Phoenix suburbs, local officials said.

Avondale firefighters said the air conditioning technician was pronounced dead in the evening after he was discovered in the attic of a home, where he’d been called for a repair earlier that day, ABC15 reports. When the residents didn’t hear from the man for half an hour, they climbed up to the attic and found him unresponsive, according to the TV station.

An attic can reach temperatures as high as 160 or 170 degrees Fahrenheit during this time of year in the region, 3TV reports. Some repair companies don’t let their workers operate in those conditions after 10 a.m. due to heat concerns, according to the TV station.

Firefighters suspect the death is heat-related, but are waiting for medical examiners to determine an official cause, according to 3TV.

The residents of the home tried to call the AC repairman in their attic when they didn’t hear from him, but he didn’t answer, according to FOX 10. The TV station reports that police are also investigating the death.

The man’s name has not been released by authorities.

Temperatures recorded at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Thursday reached 106 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

The possibly heat-related death comes as a wave of high temperatures and humidity are bearing down on much of the United States, particularly the Midwest and the Northeast, according to AccuWeather.

More than 154 million Americans are under heat-related warnings or advisories, the Washington Post reports, as a “potentially deadly combination of heat, humidity and stagnant, polluted air has engulfed more than half of the Lower 48 states.”

Arizona isn’t in the region anticipating a record-breaking heat wave, but highs in the state are expected to be around 110 for the next week, according to the Weather Channel.

New York City, Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City and more could all hit 100 degrees, AccuWeather reported.

“Power companies have braced for a surge in energy consumption as close to 100 million Americans live in an area where a daily record-high temperature could be set on Saturday, when the heat wave peaks,” Alex Sosnowski, a senior meteorologist for AccuWeather, wrote on Friday.

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.