Man rescued from Baldwin Borough home may have been trapped for days
A Baldwin Borough senior citizen lay incapacitated on the bedroom floor of his Curry Road home for several days before he picked up his cell phone and called for help.
The flat roof above nearly two-thirds of the ranch-style home had been collapsed for an unknown period of time, and emergency crews had to use plywood to steady the shifting floor to reach William “Pete” Trosene Jr., a former golf-cart mechanic, who was severely dehydrated and hypothermic when crews from Baldwin Emergency Medical Services and South Baldwin Volunteer Fire Company arrived for a call of a man needing medical assistance on Feb. 6, they said.
“Crews went in and found the structure was unsafe,” said South Baldwin spokesman John Bower, who noted he didn't know how long ago the roof had been caved in or if it was snow or simply an unstable structure that triggered the building shift. The home was condemned by Baldwin Borough code enforcement officials that cold afternoon, borough manager John Barrett said.
Neighbors said they spotted gaping holes in the exterior walls years ago. Some even erected fences to avoid confronting Terosene about the eyesore.
“He was a nice man,” neighbor Norma Kraus, 77, said.
Baldwin Borough officials said they received complaints from neighbors about the soffit and facia at Trosene's home being in disrepair. They sent him a notice through the borough's code-enforcement office. A visit was made by third-party code-enforcement-company building-inspection underwriters, and the problem was determined to have been fixed, council President Michael Stelmasczyk said.
Borough officials are looking further into the issue, he said.
The neighbors did exactly what they should have done, county officials said.
“If you see a property next door or in your neighborhood that is in disrepair, you do the same thing, whether the person is 17 or 70; Call the municipality, the building manager, the landlord, whatever. You report it,” said Mildred Morrison, administrator with the Area Agency of Aging, a division of the county Department of Human Services.
The 2010 census shows 407,000 residents age 65 or older live in the Pittsburgh area, a slight decline from 10 years before. Of those, about 32 percent live alone.
“Many, many people manage fine on their own, but for an elderly neighbor presumed to be in a difficult situation, we encourage people to call us directly, with or without anonymity,” Morrison said.
Postal carriers often take it upon themselves to check on or report to a supervisor if they notice mail piling up or little to no activity on a previously well-kept property, said Tad Kelley, a spokesman with the U.S. Postal Service in Pittsburgh.
Baldwin Borough does not have a local program nor the staff in place to check on or visit senior citizens, Stelmasczyk said.
That's where the county organizations come into play, he said. Borough officials plan to add a link to the county's Agency of Aging on the municipality's website.
People, though, must be willing to receive help.
“Most social services are voluntary in nature,” Stelmasczyk said. “You cannot ask someone to ask for assistance.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Council approves work on Pleasant Hills shopping center
- Tiny ‘council’ endorses big changes in Whitehall
- Jefferson Regional Foundation taking applications for grants
- Richter: Various databases can help library users with health education
- Hearing set on Baldwin housing complex
- Baldwin officials take step to improve parks
- Officials remain at odds over Brentwood borough building
- Whitehall Council follows tradition; rotates leadership seats