Two longtime Kentucky officials die while shoveling snow - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Two longtime Kentucky officials die while shoveling snow

Retired Florence Assistant Fire Chief R.G. Bidwell collapsed and died at home while shoveling snow Monday. He is pictured here checking fire hydrants at Florence Mall in 1980. (Provided by the Kenton County Public Library) Retired Florence Assistant Fire Chief R.G. Bidwell collapsed and died at home while shoveling snow Monday. He is pictured here checking fire hydrants at Florence Mall in 1980. (Provided by the Kenton County Public Library)
R.G. Bidwell (Photo provided) R.G. Bidwell (Photo provided)
FLORENCE, KY (FOX19) - Two longtime Kentucky officials passed away Monday trying to clean up the snow that fell during the winter storm.

R. G. Bidwell served for 28 years before retiring in 1999. But he remained active in the fire community and was a fixture at fire stations. He showed up nearly every morning for coffee and to visit with the on-duty staff, sharing his experience, wit, stories and encouragement, city officials said. He even had his own assigned coffee cup at each fire house.

“The fact that he was running a snow blower while in that snow when he knows one of guys would have come by, but he did it with his medical condition and collapsed,” said Florence Fire Chief, Kelly Aylor.

He continued to serve on the board of Florence Fire Protection District and was in his 25th year when he died. 

Chief Bidwell trained dozens of firefighters in his lifetime. His sons, John and Dennis, followed in his footsteps to become firefighters as well.

"Chief Bidwell had a tough Marine exterior that lightly covered the gentle highly respected man that he was," city officials wrote in a press release. "He was truly a great man and will be greatly missed by us all. The Bidwell family is in our thoughts and prayers."

In Dayton, Kentucky, longtime City Attorney John Fischer suffered a heart attack and passed away attempting to move the snow.

“Where you are just short of breath or you start to feel tired and nauseous earlier than you should, you're like I've been only shoveling snow for 10 minutes I shouldn't be feeling tired, that's something to worry about," said Dr. Kevin Ziegler, who works in the Emergency Room at St. Elizabeth Hospital. He said those are signs beyond the typical pain in your upper left chest and down into your left arm to know you are having a heart attack.

He said removing snow is intense physical activity and works out your entire body. Something, Triple Crown resident, Curtis Winstead, felt while shoveling the snow.

“You feel a little bit burning in the chest, and for me that's from the cold air and picking up a shovel with a full thing of snow,” said Winstead.

Dr. Ziegler says there is some information you should know before you start to clear those walkways:
  • Take breaks every 15 minutes
  • Wear heavy clothing to keep your body warm
  • Drink lots of water

Medical experts also said not to eat or smoke an hour before shoveling because blood moves to your stomach to help digest food and smoking causes your blood vessels to constrict.

Regular check-ups with your doctor will also help you understand how much physical activity your body can handle.

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