Warm weather overcomes parade attendees

June 11, 2010 8:26:50 PM PDT
The Chicago Fire Department responded to 180 of calls for assistance with 75 people sent to hospitals at Friday's parade and rally.

While fans celebrated on Upper Wacker, it was a different vibe just below. Lower Wacker and Michigan Avenue became the hub for medical emergencies.

"Part of it was from the heat because the crowd got thick around us. I just started sweating, and after that I just went down. Yeah, it was pretty bad," said Carol Biagi, Heat victim.

Biagi, who hurt her leg after collapsing from the heat, later recovered.

Sandra Ford nearly fainted on the street when a police officer came to her rescue.

"They gave me water and they gave me oxygen, so they were really helpful, really kind to me," said Ford.

Chicago has an agreement with suburban departments to chip and help when needed - and that's exactly what happened Friday.

Chicago fire officials say, as a precaution, 20 suburban ambulances were called in to the city to help. Eight of them were put to use.

Suburban units came from communities like Lincolnwood, North Palos, Skokie and Oak Lawn.

"Most of the calls are being handled by Chicago. We're here to help them in the event, you know, any large number of calls at one time. Most are heat exhaustion from people wearing their sweaters for the fan support," said Chris Ward, Oak Lawn firefighter & paramedic.

Overall, fire officials say the emergency calls were not life threatening. And, in most cases, fans just needed water and a chance to sit down.

Johnny Bianco's friend was one of them.

"We went to walk and go off and get him water. By the time we got back, we noticed they got some medical attention, just in case," said Bianco.

Fire officials say the number of medical calls was rather small, especially considering how many people came to the party.


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