Two Maryland men dead after shoveling snow

COLUMBIA, Md. (AP) - Officials have released the names of two men who died after going into cardiac arrest while shoveling snow and a third man who also died of cardiac arrest the same day.

The Howard County Department of Fire & Rescue Services says Richard Lee Tucker of Woodstock and 61-year-old Kenneth Charles Frame of Columbia died Thursday after collapsing while shoveling snow.

Authorities could not confirm the circumstances of the third man's death Thursday. Officials identified him as 57-year-old James William Wells.

Earlier report: Two Maryland men dead after shoveling snow

COLUMBIA, Md. (AP/WJLA) - Two men in Howard County have died after suffering medical emergencies while shoveling snow, and a third died when he collapsed outside in the snow.

Marc Fisher, a spokesman for Howard County Fire and Rescue, says authorities are waiting until cause of death is confirmed by the Officer of the Chief Medical Examiner before declaring any of the deaths to be weather-related.

Neighbors in the area remain in shock:

"It's definitely sad that someone just down the street was killed doing this," said Jim Dyer.

Two of the incidents happened in Columbia, and one in Woodstock – all within a few hours of one another Thursday morning.

"In the 21 years I have been here I have never seen this," said Marc Fischer. "The question is what makes this more dangerous than a typical snowstorm."

According to EMS workers and doctors, the answer is the amount of snow and the extremely heavy, wet snow that fell -- sometimes called "heart attack snow."

"A lot of people aren't fit enough to shovel," explained Dr. Bedria Albader. "They do strenuous exercise after not having done exercise in a long time and the heart can't handle it."

Bob Koelee was friend and neighbor James Wells Jr., who collapsed outside his home on Owen Brown Road. We found Koelee shoveling his own driveway, and he says that although he has to do it, he is making sure to take it slow:

"I just take my time. This morning I did this and now I'll do a little bit here. I'll work a little bit for an hour, take a break, and do another hour."

Snow accumulated more than a foot throughout Howard County, and both men who collapsed after shoveling snow were taken to Howard County General Hospital, where they were pronounced dead.

The third man, reportedly in his late 40s from Columbia, collapsed and died while outside Thursday morning, but it is unclear whether he had been shoveling snow.