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.”