93-year-old veteran dies from lack of oxygen after 21-hour power outage at his home – rest in peace

A 93-year-old Korean War veteran has resided at the same Pittsburgh address for the past 60 years. Considering his reliance on oxygen, Tom Wraith lives alone and continues to drive and prepare his own meals.

Janet Zleriak, his daughter, stayed with him until 5 p.m. on Sunday and anticipated to hear from him on Monday. When she didn’t receive a call, it triggered her, and she dashed over to her dad’s house.

A violent storm slammed the area overnight and into the morning, knocking out power to over 20,000 people. Her father’s oxygen supply had been cut off due to the power outage, and her worst fears were realised when she reached at his house on Monday morning.

Janet recalled that she enter the living room and her father collapsed like a cushion. And his oxygen was hanging from his nose. She simply yelled. She grabbed him, and it was so cold.

A neighbour informed her that their block had been without electricity for 21 hours. This wasn’t necessary. Why would it switch off for so long?, she wondered.

Both his primary oxygen system and subsequent portable oxygen units were out of commission due to a lack of electricity. Due to the power loss, both his landline and cell phone were inoperable.

His daughter is now seeking information from the electricity provider that serves the neighbourhood. She explained, he had no reason to die.

The electricity provider that serves the region, Duquesne Light, said they had not heard any word from the Wraith family but that their thoughts were with them at this trying time.

Wollie Geitner, communications director for Duquesne Light Company, stated in an email that the storm on Sunday was the most severe they’ve had this year. It hampered their recovery operations on Monday night, causing significant damage and more storms across their service region. Over 250 line workers and field personnel worked around the clock to reconnect electricity to 20,000 households, and their efforts continue.

Our thoughts are with Tom Wraith’s family. Rest in peace.

More must be implemented to safeguard vulnerable persons during power outages. Please share if you agree.

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