Dad, daughter sought furnace help before bodies were found - WNEM TV 5

Dad, daughter sought furnace help before bodies were found

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A Michigan family sought help in the weeks leading up to their deaths inside a home where temperatures were below freezing.

“Something needs to be done. I don't want this to happen to someone else,” said Timmothy Bivins, the son and brother of the victims.

A call to action from family members after a father and daughter died inside a Niles home.

Behind the neat curtains at the home on the 600 block of Woodruff Street, police said the bodies of 81-year-old Albert Bivins and his 55-year-old daughter Patricia Bivins were found in a home well-below 32 degrees.

"They put them back in the freezer, back in the death house. That’s what they did. I’m sorry,” said Timmothy Bivins.

Bivins said he's raising questions after city leaders said the pair sought help to fix their furnace a week before they died.

They came to the Ferry Street Resource Center in Niles, but the nonprofit doesn't provide money for household repairs.

According to the South Bend Tribune, the center referred the Bivins to a different program run by a Michigan State agency.

It was a program that experts told the Tribune required them to do paperwork and get multiple bids for repairs and that would have taken awhile to provide any relief.

A community development block grant to the city for $400,000 was reduced by half in recent years, saying that was the money the city used to fund homeowner programs.

“These agencies could have went out and did better. They could have done better,” said Bivins.

Neighbors who didn't know the Bivins by name said they would've been willing to help, had they known the need.

"I think that there's a big group of people that empathy for their fellow man, and I think that if they had known what was happening with that family they would've helped,” said Jean Rose, who lives in Buchanan.

For now, the son and brother of Albert and Patricia Bivins is asking for action.

"Someone needs to be held accountable or they need to make this program work better," said Bivins.

The Ferry Street Resource Center could not be reached for comment Sunday.

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