BRISTOW man possible seventh heat-related death

Thursday, July 26th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BRISTOW, Okla. (AP) _ While a storm system brought the promise of a little relief to parts of Oklahoma on Thursday, another elderly person may have become the seventh in the state to suffer a heat-related death, authorities said.

Showers and thunderstorms were possible as a cool front tracked slowly into northern sections of the state. Temperatures were expected to reach the 100s in many locations, but some areas could see only 90s with clouds and rain.

In east-central Oklahoma, a retired engineer who had car trouble after checking on his cattle, suffered a heart as he tried to walk to a neighor for help, family members said.

Kessler Bigpond, 92, made it about a quarter of a mile before he collapsed, said Ethan Bigpond, Kessler's son.

Kessler's wife, Lucy, who had accompanied him to check on the cattle, waited in their car for a while, then went looking for her husband. Mrs. Kessler, 93, found him at the side of a gate and walked to a neighbor to call an ambulance.

``It's a wonder she made it,'' Ethan Bigpond said. ``The heat got to him, and he had a heart attack.''

The Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office has ruled that six other deaths have resulted from the heat, which has approached, reached or exceeded 100 degrees in many areas of the state all month.

Mrs. Bigpond was treated for dehydration at Bristow Memorial Hospital and released.

In northeastern Oklahoma, Tulsa's Emergency Medical Service Authority issued a medical heat alert for the area and urged people to be cautious in the persistent heat. EMSA crews have responded to dozens of heat-related calls in Tulsa this month.

Forecasters predicted Thursday's high temperatures to reach the 90s and low 100s again, but clouds were expected to move in during the afternoon and bring a slight chance of thunderstorms to northern Oklahoma.

The rest of the state could see precipitation as the boundary slides farther south over the next few days.