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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

At least 3 confirmed dead of heat exposure, could increase to 11 after days of record-breaking highs, Spokane medical examiner says

Matthew Laverne works through the oppressive heat for LP Construction Services on Thursday at a site in Post Falls.  (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)

The Spokane County medical examiner confirmed three heat-related deaths Friday and updated the number of possible heat deaths to 11, outlining the tragic consequences of this week’s historic heat wave.

Deana Farwell, 64, and 81-year-old David Devleming were confirmed to have died of environmental heat exposure on Thursday, according to the office.

Farwell died in the 200 block of West Sprague Avenue and Devleming died in the 11000 block of East Maxwell Avenue in Spokane Valley.

The office also confirmed the cause of death of 84-year-old Beverly Martin was environmental heat exposure. She died Thursday in the 300 block of West 16th Avenue.

The three had preexisting conditions that contributed to their deaths.

The office has been updating a growing list of deaths that appeared to have been related to heat since Tuesday.

Autopsy results have not officially confirmed many of the deaths, but they are at least suspected of being heat-related by examiners.

Triple-digit temperatures hit Spokane starting Sunday and on Tuesday broke the city’s all-time record for the hottest day at 109 degrees.

The high temperature on Wednesday was 104, a record high for that date.

The four days of intense heat starting Sunday tied the second-highest number of consecutive days with temperatures reaching 100 degrees set in 1898.

Slightly cooler weather is on the radar for the holiday weekend, with highs around the mid-90s, according to the National Weather Service.

Valerie Thaler, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Spokane, expects the holiday weekend to be warm, clear and at times hazy.

Thaler expects to see some haze in the sky but nothing significant. She said the haze on Friday was due to fires in northern California but is “mostly elevated and won’t affect us from the surface.” The little haze possible in Spokane over the weekend will be due to fires in British Columbia.

She said a red flag warning is unlikely this weekend, despite the dry conditions.

Lisa Woodard, Spokane Clean Air Agency spokesperson, said Spokane’s air quality is expected to remain good or moderate through the weekend, but that could change based on fire and wind activity.

“Conditions can change hourly,” she said, noting that the public can check for current conditions.

She recommended that people with health conditions, including adults 65 or older, infants and children, pregnant women and people with heart and lung disease, should take extra precaution and talk to their health provider to have a plan in advance of the fire season.

Sophia McFarland and Jordan Tolley-Turner contributed to this report.