Friday, Feb 24, 2017
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Police & Fire

Elderly Springfield Twp. woman found surrounded by filth

Witness said 75-year-old hadn't moved from chair since July, 2016

First responders on Thursday found an elderly Springfield Township woman surrounded by excrement and with her skin molded to a living room chair.

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The home of Barbara Foster on 208 Burnham Green Rd. in Springfield Township.

The Blade/Katie Rausch
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Firefighters responded about 6:26 p.m. to an ill woman in the 200 block of Burnham Green Road. Crews required protective suits because of conditions inside the house, Assistant Fire Chief Rick Helminski said.

A witness said the woman, Barbara Foster, 75, hadn’t moved from the chair since July, 2016. Firefighters found human excrement all around her, according to a Lucas County Sheriff’s Office report. She was 5 feet, 5 inches and weighed 550 pounds, according to the report.

The woman was taken to the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio hospital.

“While EMS was attempting to move Barbara, she was screaming in pain, and the odor coming from the house could be smelled in the front yard by the sidewalk,” the report states.

A hospital spokesman said no information was available for a patient by that name. The report was forwarded to a sheriff’s office detective for review.

A member of Ms. Foster’s church provided food to her at that residence for the past 10 years.

The man called 911 because she was acting differently, the deputy wrote in his report.

“I was also advised that Barbara was so physically weak that bones in her body were breaking when EMS was attempting to carry her out of the house,” according to the report.

The deputy described conditions inside the home as poor and unsanitary, and surgical-type face masks littered the lawn today.

Neighbors today said they did not know Ms. Foster but recalled the church volunteer stopping by her residence often.

Robbie Zolciak said he believes Ms. Foster has lived next door to him since he and his wife bought their home about 10 years ago. He said he used to smile and wave to her when he mowed his lawn, but he never spoke to her.

“It’s been years since I’ve physically seen her,” Mr. Zolciak said.

Neighbors flocked to their front lawns Thursday evening to witness the commotion. It’s a quiet neighborhood, Mr. Zolciak said, so the emergency lights were out of character.

“I’ve never seen so many people suited up,” he said. “It was quite a scene.”

Mr. Zolciak added the neighbors looked out for each other in terms of reporting possible vandals and speeding vehicles, but he was unaware Ms. Foster was in poor health.

Toledo-Lucas County Health Department officials plan today to assess Ms. Foster’s home to see if it meets the county’s minimum housing standards, which includes access to water and proper sewer facilities.

Samantha Eitniear, acting director of community services and environmental health, said if officials find health concerns at the home they will need to be addressed.

“Making sure the individual in that house is safe and that public health is protected is what we’re after,” she said.

Staff writer Sarah Elms contributed to this report.

Contact Ryan Dunn at: rdunn@theblade.com, 419-724-6095, or on Twitter @rdunnblade.

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