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California Heat Wave to Blame for at Least 13 Deaths

Scorching temperatures that have gripped Southern California for more than a week were blamed Tuesday for at least 13 deaths.

As the heat wave entered its eighth day, authorities reported finding bodies in vehicles and apartments throughout the region.

Twelve of the deaths occurred in Los Angeles County, said Capt. Ed Winter of the coroner's office. A 13th death was confirmed in San Bernardino County.

In Los Angeles, an elderly couple was found in their apartment in the San Fernando Valley's Valley Village neighborhood Monday, where temperatures of 106 degrees were reported, authorities said. The man and woman, whose identities were withheld until their family could be notified, did not have air conditioning, Battalion Chief Peter Penesch said.

San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies in Twentynine Palms on Sunday found the body of Michael Cuhna on the Marine Corps base there. His dehydrated and sunburned friend reported the Hesperia man missing a day earlier, according to a release from the sheriff's department.

The friend told police the two were separated while illegally gathering scrap metal from the base. A preliminary coroner's report found Cuhna died as a result of exposure and dehydration.

Crews from several utility companies were working to restore power to thousands of people throughout Southern California left without it because of the overload, officials said.

"We're definitely putting out a call for conservation," said Vanessa McGrady, spokeswoman for Southern California Edison.

She said outages affected about 29,000 homes in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino counties early Tuesday.

Another 29,000 homes were without power in Los Angeles and near record-high demand was predicted, said Kim Hughes, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Water and Power.