CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (WTVN) -- Three Ross County men died within two hours on Saturday. All were shoveling snow.
"It may have been a combination of shoveling the ice with wet snow that caused these three deaths to occur withing a few hours of each other," said Dr. John Gabis, Ross County's coroner.
The first man, 63-years old, died just after 1 p.m. when he collapsed at a gas station. He had been out with a friend clearing snow. About an hour later, a 54-year old man was found in the driveway by his daughter. He had cleared the driveway to allow his daughter and wife to get out earlier in the day. Then at 3:19 p.m., a 65-year old man was found dead in the driveway by his wife.
Gabis says in his 21 years as coroner he's never seen deaths from shoveling come so quickly.
"It's a wake up call for all of us," he said.
The common thread among most deaths related to shoveling snow is heart disease. Gabis says many times people don't realize they have heart disease until it's too late. He's suggesting that the elderly or someone who doesn't get a lot of physical activity either let someone else do the shoveling or take breaks often.
"If you're young and healthy it's a different story," he said.
Symptoms to look for include heaviness in your chest, especially if it goes up into your jaw or arm. Another red flag is a heart rate and sweating that's out of proportion for the amount of work you're doing.
"If you feel your heart skipping beats or you just don't feel right that's a sign that you need to stop, rest, and maybe if you are having some of these symptoms seek immediate medical attention," Gabis said.