Heat could be a factor in city worker's death

A Lake Charles city worker is dead, the apparent victim of heat exhaustion. It was his first full day of work at his new job.

Thirty two year old Anderson worked on a truck like this one. It's hard work, especially in the hot sun.  The workers stop and pick up trash and limbs left along the side of the road by homeowners.

City of Lake Charles truck driver Allen Ardoin said Anderson's death hits hard. "I didn't know him that well but I feel like I know him because he's one of the workers that was working with us. And we're all just like a big, old family over here. When somebody get hurt in the family, everybody suffers. It hurt a lot of people though because like I said it could have happened to any one of us."

Ardoin said city workers keep cool water and Gatorade on the truck and take breaks as needed in the scorching summer heat. "It's probably about 98 or 99 degrees right now. But we do stop occasionally and drink a lot of water, keep our body liquid down so we won't be catching strokes, heat strokes and stuff, as much as we can," said Ardoin.

City Administrator John Cardone said they urge workers to be careful in the heat. "They're advised to try to wear light clothing, try and drink plenty of water, so we try to go through this orientation process. But it's difficult, especially for those people who may not be used to the heat. We have talked to the supervisors at public works and encourage them to continue to advise the employees that when they're tired they need to take a break and make sure they drink water throughout the day," said Cardone.

He and Mayor Randy Roach visited Anderson's widow, to extend condolences and support. "This is a very, very difficult time for a young family. And it's something that we want them to know that we are here as a community to support them,"said Roach.

Meanwhile, with high temperatures outside, there's constantly the chance of heat related issues for workers. City officials say the safety of employees is first and foremost.

After suffering apparent heat exhaustion Anderson was taken by ambulance to a local hospital-- where he died a short time after arrival.  The exact cause of Anderson's death is still under investigation.

Copyright 2012 KPLC All rights reserved

The following is a Press Release from the City of Lake Charles:

The City of Lake Charles Public Works Department is sad to announce the loss of one of its employee's Thursday afternoon.

Quentin Anderson worked in the Solid Waste Department and had just completed his first full day on the job when he suffered apparent heat exhaustion. He was transported by ambulance to a local hospital and passed away shortly after arrival.

The City is continuing its investigation into the incident and  the exact cause of death is yet to be determined. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family at this very sad time.

With the temperatures reaching records highs there is a constant opportunity for employees to experience heat related issues. The safety of our employees is first and foremost and we encourage and allow them to take breaks during the day as needed. Accordingly, there may be periodic delays in providing certain services especially during the summer season.