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Man shut in home freezing may not be only case

SCHOHARIE COUNTY-- Officials in Schoharie County fear the case of an elderly man shut inside his home, freezing, may not be the only one this winter.

On Tuesday law enforcement and EMTs removed a man from his Town of Summit home after he was suspected to be inside for almost a week without heat. The 76 year-old was taken to the hospital and is being treated for hypothermia and frostbite, among other things.

A neighbor who became suspicious because they did not see smoke coming from a chimney called the man who answered the phone confused, said Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond.

Authorities were alerted and later showed up to the mans home to find him in an emaciated and unhealthy state.

"When we found him he was incoherent, suffering from obvious frostbite." Desmond said.

Paul Brady, Commissioner of the Schoharie County Department of Social Services, said Wednesday he fears there may be more cases like this. Thanks to long weeks of frigid temperatures and prideful people, many people may not want to reach out for help, Brady said.

"We have to operate on the potential that is always the possibility." Brady said.

The Department of Social Services, in any county, can assist people with a wide range of concerns, Brady added. He believes there is a "stigma" against calling Social Services, but that should be put on the back burner in an emergency, he said.
 
"We really want people in this instance to come forward," Brady said. "We want to assist them."