Two Delaware County men were found dead on Wednesday, Feb. 25 -- one on his property where he had been cutting a tree for firewood, and the other a few blocks from his home after he was reported missing.
Seventy-year-old Ralph Hunt was attempting to cut a tree near his home on County Road 14 in Delhi on Feb. 25 when the tree fell on him, killing him, Delaware County Undersheriff Craig DuMond told the Daily Star. Hunt, a longtime member of the Delhi Fire Department, was declared dead at the scene, the paper reports.
In a press release sent on Thursday, the Delaware County Sheriff's Office gave more details about Hunt's death. Hunt, who was a retired dairy farmer, had spent Wednesday morning gathering firewood on a wooded hillside on his property. He had skidded a tree down to his farmhouse in the morning. When he didn't return home for lunch, his wife became worried and called a friend to investigate.
Members of the Delhi Fire Department, where Hunt had once served as chief and where he had volunteered since 1982, came to the property.
"Responding Fire Department members walked through deep, unplowed snow, following a farm tractor track to the top of the wooded property and discovered Hunt pinned beneath a tree and unresponsive, his chainsaw and tractor running nearby," the press release states. "Investigation revealed that Hunt, who was alone in the woods, was struck and killed by a tree he was felling for firewood."
A number of first responders then used snowmobiles and a "track driven utility vehicle" to access the scene.
The other man, 64-year-old Arthur Ballard, was last seen on Monday, Feb. 23. After friends reported him missing, police found Ballard's body on Wednesday at the intersection of Wheeler and Front St., near the railroad tracks and his home in the village of Hancock, according to WBNG and the Daily Star. The cause of death will be announced after an autopsy, but no foul play is suspected, according to news reports.
This story has been updated with additional information. - Ed.
Update 3/2/15: An autopsy on Arthur Ballard found that the cause of his death was "a combination of hypothermia and acute alcoholic intoxication," New York State Police said in a press release on March 2, 2015. "No signs of criminal activity or foul play in his death."