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Santa Clara County Coroner Investigating Homeless Deaths Amid Plunging Temperatures

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- The Santa Clara County Coroner's Office is investigating a number of recent homeless deaths possibly related to "cold exposure/hypothermia."

In an email to KPIX, officials said the investigation into the cause of the deaths was still ongoing and no other information was available. The coroner also did not say how many deaths were being investigated.

The weather has turned cold in the San Francisco Bay Area and combined with strong downpours from a series of storms this week has created miserable conditions for those living on the streets.

Temperatures plunged into the low 30s early Friday and forecasters said it will be even colder by early Saturday.

"We have cold temperatures coming into tonight and again Friday night," said National Weather Service forecaster Brian Garcia in a video posted Thursday night. "Friday and Saturday morning are going to be very cold...San Jose is looking around the freezing mark."

Garcia said a weather system streaming into Southern California was pulling cold, Canadian air over the Bay Area. Freezing or near freezing temperatures will be common from Santa Rosa to Livermore, where Gracia predicted temperatures to reach 31 degrees or colder overnight.

"There will be the potential for hypothermia especially among our unsheltered population," Garcia said.

Meanwhile, authorities in Pittsburg were trying to determine if a malfunctioning heater may be the source of carbon monoxide that was believed to have led to the death of a woman and hospitalization of children ranging in age from 6 to 16.

According to Pittsburg police Lt. William Hatcher, officers were sent to a home in the 100 block of Vincent Street just after 7:00 p.m. after receiving a call from a concerned relative.

The family member stated they had not heard from the residents in several days and were concerned for their welfare.

When officers arrived, they made contact with a man who was disoriented and incoherent. As officers entered the residence, they located a woman inside who was unresponsive. Three children were also inside the home.

Medical personnel responded to the scene, transporting four of the residents to area hospitals for additional treatment. All were expected to recover. Unfortunately, the woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

During the investigation, it was believed all occupants may have suffered from carbon monoxide exposure.

Pacific Gas and Electric crews responded to the scene and detected a very high level of carbon monoxide inside the house.

Authorities said the source of the exposure was believed to be from the heater for the residence. The incident remains under investigation.

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