Ottawa Police helped dig an elderly man out of his home Thursday, March 7, after the city’s excessively snowy winter left him housebound for weeks.
The man in his 70s had heat and electricity and access to a phone, but decided he would ration his food and wait for spring rather than call for help.
“He just was going to wait winter out,” said police spokeswoman Const. Amy Gagnon.
The officers went to the home in the city’s east end Thursday night after concerned neighbours called asking for a wellness check. They hadn’t seen their neighbour in quite some time and were concerned for his well-being.
When police arrived, they found a driveway covered by several feet of snow and a car completely buried. There were no signs that anyone had been in or out for some time.
They made their way to the front door and a man answered their knock.
“He was alive, he was well, but he was alone,” said Gagnon.
Police don’t know exactly when he became trapped in his house.
— CP24 (@CP24) March 8, 2019
Ottawa has had more than 260 cm of snow fall since November, including a record-setting 97 cm in January and a winter storm in mid-February that convinced the city’s schools to close for the first time in years.
The man was willing to continue his winter-bound lifestyle, but Gagnon said that was “unacceptable” to the officers so three of them joined forces to clear his entire driveway of snow. They also called in municipal workers to help remove large amounts of ice built up at the end of his driveway.
The officers are also bringing him groceries and asking other city services to continue to check on his well-being.
The man doesn’t want to be identified.
“He’s very thankful for the help, but would like to keep his privacy,” said Gagnon.
By Mia Rabson