Charley Lampley, 55, was found "frozen" dead just steps from his Wisconsin home on Tuesday as freezing cold grips the Midwest

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January 30, 2019 01:48 PM

A 55-year-old man was found “frozen” dead just steps from his Wisconsin home on Tuesday as cold gripping the Midwest this week wreaks havoc on the region.

Charley Lampley was shoveling snow outside his Milwaukee home just moments before he was found unconscious near his detached garage, a spokesperson for the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office tells PEOPLE.

“When it was found it looked like he was frozen on the ground, obviously due to how cold its been here recently,” the spokesperson tells PEOPLE. “But we don’t know if [the cold] played a role in the death.”

A stranger found Lampley on the ground and he was pronounced dead at the scene, the spokesperson says. The garage door was open and Lampley was fully clothed, dressed for the cold weather, according to WISN. Nothing about the death appeared suspicious.

He was still holding the shovel, the spokesperson tells PEOPLE.

“The shovel was in his hand, it was frozen,” the spokesperson says. “It could have been just loosely in his hand and froze that way.”

RELATED STORY: Extreme Cold in Midwest Leads to Postal Service Cancellation, Residents Advised Not to Talk Outside

It was unclear how long Lampley had been outdoors, as he was last seen the night before, according to the spokesperson.

“People got to be safer out here while it’s cold,” Lampley’s neighbor, Gene Spruell, told WISN. “It’s dangerous out here.”

The death comes as the polar vortex creates dangerously cold weather conditions in the Midwest. Temperatures in Milwaukee are expected to hit -22 degrees this week, with wind chills at -55 degrees, WITI reports.

Officials throughout the region have declared states of emergency, including governors in Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan, according to the Associated Press. Temperatures plummeted to -26 degrees in North Dakota and Minnesota felt wind chills as low as -62 degrees, the AP reported.

As least five deaths have been linked to the dangerous weather, according to the New York Times. A man was struck by a snow plow in the Chicago area and a couple reportedly died in a car crash, the Times reported. Meanwhile, a 70-year-old man wearing “limited clothes” in Detroit died outside near his home on Wednesday, Detroit News reports.

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