Veteran dies from hypothermia while seeking oxygen after power loss in Texas winter storm

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Saturday, February 20, 2021
Vet dies from hypothermia while seeking oxygen in storm
Press play to hear from a Crosby woman who was in tears after her husband died in the midst of the disaster.

CROSBY, Texas -- A Vietnam veteran who needed a breathing machine to survive faced some obstacles during the winter storm when his power went out and his pipes burst.

Andy Anderson's widow, Toni, showed sister station KTRK-TV the long tube that connected to her husband's breathing machine.

"He had all this dragged through the house with him so he could breathe," said Toni.

The machine is run by electricity, so when the power went out during the storm, the machine stopped working.

While serving in the war, Andy encountered Agent Orange, a tactical herbicide used to clear foliage in Vietnam, and was later diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This led to him needing the machine.

As the hours went by without power this week, Andy struggled to breathe.

"We just thought the power would get back on," said Toni. "We didn't know the power would be out for days like it was."

All the while, a pipe burst, flooding the kitchen.

Andy worked to get a generator going to power his machine with no luck. He went to his truck where he had an oxygen device.

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"Our primary concern really is her machines," her dad said. While the family still has power, they said they will have to find a place to recharge her machines if it goes out.

Not long after, his wife went to check on him.

"I went out there, he had no response. He was already cold. It looked like he was trying to get out of the truck," Toni said.

Andy died from hypothermia.

"Had he had his oxygen, had the power not been off, I think he would have still been here with me right now," said Toni.

After 30 years of marriage, Toni's husband is gone.

"Just like I've been doing all week, I think of something I want to say to him, and I'll turn and he's not there. I'll be wanting to talk to him, he's not there," she said.

With a home that needs repair and the loss of her husband, Toni's family has started a Go Fund Me page to help with expenses.

As for Toni, she's grappling with the loss of a man who served his country, loved his family and lost his life over a failed system that his wife said should never have failed in the first place.

SEE RELATED STORY: Dad without power goes to Buc-ee's to charge medical equipment for son with special needs