A 57-year-old bedridden tenant of BayView Houses was found dead early Sunday, after apparently being exposed to excessive steam pouring from a broken pipe under her first floor apartment, police said.
According to officers from the 69th Precinct Detective Squad, the apartment of the victim, Constance Lloyd of 2055 Rockaway Parkway, is located directly above a maintenance room where there was a damaged steam pipe, causing an excessive amount of steam to pour into her room.
Lloyd, who suffered from multiple sclerosis, was found by a home attendant at about 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 4. After seeing how hot the apartment was and trying to revive the victim, the nurse knocked on a neighbor’s door and the neighbor called police.
According to Detective James Moss, when police and paramedics arrived they could hardly get into the apartment because of the intense heat.
"It was almost unbearable," Moss said. Neighbors who live in other apartments on the first floor said they also felt the excessive heat.
"My apartment was so hot I had to keep all the windows open," a neighbor of the victim said.
A Housing Authority spokesman told the Associated Press Tuesday that the heating system in the building was scheduled for replacement in December but the project was postponed until this summer "to avoid disrupting heat and hot water service during the cold winter months."
Moss said the medical examiner’s representative who responded to the scene determined that the victim’s body temperature was 112 degrees even after four hours of being in the room with the windows open.
The body was taken to the Kings County morgue for an autopsy.
"We don’t know the exact cause of death yet," Moss said, "but the medical examiner said it would appear to be a severe case of hyperthermia."
Other residents of the housing complex said they had seen Lloyd in her wheelchair near the building on "a few" occasions.
"She was a very nice person who greeted everyone," said one neighbor, who did not want to give his name. He said his building, located adjacent to the building where the fatality occurred, was usually comfortable, "but I live on the third floor, away from the pipes."