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Extreme heat likely caused at least 100 deaths in B.C.: coroner

Victoria -

B.C.'s unprecedented heat wave is believed to be a factor in at least 100 deaths over the weekend, according to the BC Coroners Service.

The service says about 130 reports of deaths are received over an average four-day period in B.C.

During the height of the heat wave, from Friday morning to Monday afternoon, more than 233 deaths were reported.

"Since the onset of the heat wave late last week, the BC Coroners Service has experienced a significant increase in deaths reported where it is suspected that extreme heat has been contributory," said Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner with the BC Coroners Service, in a statement Tuesday.

"This number will increase as data continues to be updated," she said.

While it's not certain if extreme heat was the only cause of the influx in deaths, the coroners service says it is investigating what role it played.

"Coroners are carefully gathering all information available for each death reported, to determine the cause and manner of death, and whether excessive heat played a role," said Lapointe.

In Vancouver alone, the Vancouver Police Department says it responded to 65 reports of sudden deaths between Friday and Tuesday.

Burnaby RCMP also received 25 sudden death calls over the same time period, with many of the victims being seniors.

As of Wednesday, Environment Canada says that the heat wave will "become less intense starting today."

However, the weather agency is still warning of unseasonably high temperatures for the rest of the week, and heat warnings are still posted for the majority of B.C., including Greater Victoria, East Vancouver Island and Inland Vancouver Island.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Kendra Mangione and Maria Weisgarber Top Stories

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