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Cold weather may have claimed 71-year-old man's life

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 24 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 26 2013 05:42:54 AM CST

In the dead of winter smoke from a chimney can be a signal of survival.

MOUNT POCONO, Pa. -

In the dead of winter smoke from a chimney can be a signal of survival.

"You burn wood right? Always burn wood no matter what," Johnny Andrade said.

But earlier this week when Johnny Andrade didn't see smoke from the home of Walter Elwine, 71, his Mount Pocono, Monroe County neighbor he knew something was wrong.

"I say man I hope he didn't pass away," he told us.

Walter was pronounced dead at 6:20 Thursday night. The coroner said the man who had a litany of health problems had been dead for two days.

Walter lived alone. The coroner believes he was on his couch and because of a medical condition couldn't get up to stoke the fire. Since he lived alone no one could do it for him.

The coroner said Walter's death was a combination of natural causes and being in the cold but is awaiting an official stance until toxicology reports come in.

Neighbor Jackie Possinger says she checks on Walter often, the two both love Johnny Cash, she just didn't check this week.

"I wish I would have checked on him or someone would have checked on him. He's right there. My husband always checked on him but he didn't check on him yesterday," Jackie said.

Police say Walter was found by his son, after receiving a call from Andrade. Andrade and his wife, Maria, would often bring Walter food on the holidays. Unfortunately there wasn't a holiday this week.