Dad, daughter sought furnace help before bodies were found in cold home

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NILES, Mich. — An elderly man and his daughter had sought help to get their furnace fixed days before their bodies were found inside a cold southwestern Michigan home.

The South Bend Tribune in Indiana reports 81-year-old Albert Bivins and 55-year-old Patricia Bivins had visited the Ferry Street Resource Center in Niles, Michigan, to get help with their furnace after it stopped working.

Director Greg Nasstrom says the organization doesn’t provide financial help with furnaces, but they were directed to state officials.

“We were devastated here because we did what we could at that moment, and it wasn’t enough,” Nasstrom told WNDU.

Their bodies were discovered Jan. 3. Autopsies haven’t determined the cause of death. Authorities are awaiting lab testing.

Police say gas and electricity were functioning, but the temperature inside the house was below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Nasstrom said the circumstances faced by the father and daughter are not uncommon.

“To have people die in their living room is uncommon, but to have people to struggle to get their utility bills paid happens every day here. For people to struggle to get their homes repaired and to keep a standard of living is very common, it’s just normally not, it normally does not go to that extreme where somebody could actually pass away in their home,” said Nasstrom.

Niles is southwest of Grand Rapids and north of the state line with Indiana.

A GoFundMe page has been created to help the family pay for funeral expenses.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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