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Police: Developmentally disabled sisters died in apartment heated to over 100 degrees

Posted: 3:09 PM, Nov 20, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-21 05:33:33Z
Police: Sisters died in overheated apartment

FOREST PARK, Ohio -- Police say two sisters were found dead Monday morning in a Pennington Court apartment heated to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

A caregiver called 911 after discovering the bodies of Theresa Johnson, 41, and Mary Johnson, 44, who both had developmental disabilities. Lt. Adam Pape said he believed those disabilities might have prevented them from leaving their apartment even as temperatures soared due to a faulty furnace. 

"There was a faulty switch inside the unit that regulates or stops the unit from getting too high in temperature," he said. "That failed."

Firefighters who arrived on the scene estimated the initial temperature around 120 degrees. When they opened a window and returned with a thermometer, it measured 104 degrees -- so hot inside that officers had to disable the unit's heating at the circuit box after they were unable to turn it off at the control panel.

The Hamilton County Coroner's Office has not yet determined an exact cause of death, but police said early investigations indicate the broken furnace caused the temperature spike.

Foul play is not suspected, police said. 

According to Pape, the malfunction did not endanger any of the building's other tenants.