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Cold Weather Suspected in Deaths of 2 Homeless Men

By Rachelle Bowden in News on Dec 27, 2004 8:39PM

This freezing holiday weekend while we were all cozied up by the fireplace opening presents with loved ones, two homeless men died on the streets of Chicago. Their suspected cause of death is hypothermia. Makes us really appreciate what we've got. A roof over our heads and a warm bed to sleep in.

2004_12_homeless.jpgAndrzej Zwijacz (age 53) was found on California Avenue and pronounced dead at 6:20 pm at Mount Sinai Hospital. He'd been living on California between a viaduct and a warehouse. A 2nd man, Zenon Rogat (age 57) was found on Sunday under a porch on Hamlin Ave. Rogat was pronounced dead at 8:33 pm at Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center.

Autopsies for both men are scheduled for today but both are thought to have died from the cold weather. If that's the case they'll be the 9th and 10th deaths due to the cold weather so far this winter in Cook Country. Last year between October and April there were 20 deaths due to the cold.

The city had 5,900 beds available in 128 shelters and the Dept. of Human Services has the ability to increase the number of beds needed. The Dept is advising people to utilize 9 warming centers (?), public libraries, and police stations instead of trying to tough out the cold. They're advising us to stay indoors and only go outside for short periods of time. Oh, and not to drink because it can impair judgement and reduce the body's ability to stay warm. Funny, drinking always makes us feel WARMER! .. But then we guess that's the point. Feeling warmer and being warmer are two different things. Anyway, if you see someone who needs shelter, call 311, the city's non-emergency number, to get them help.

The good news is that the rest of the week is supposed to bring higher temperatures. is predicting 57 degrees on Thursday. We were about to jump up and down but then we saw that great big rain cloud, also predicted. Still, we'd rather have 57 and rain than the bitter cold weather we had over the weekend!