Chicagoans flock to beaches on Memorial Day

May 28, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Dennis Kaehr and his family got to North Avenue Beach by 8 a.m. Monday. As early birds, the Oak Lawn family was able to get a nice spot by the water.

"I got the prime location right here, but the reason why we came out early is because when I used to come out here a lot of times a few years back, usually this whole place would be packed," Kaher said.

Because of the big crowds expected at Chicago's beaches Monday, blankets and lawn chairs started to unfold early.

"Got to get the good parking and a good spot on the beach it's going to be a good time today," Austin Jump said.

Chicago experienced the hottest Memorial Day on record Monday, with highs reaching comfortably above the 90-degree mark.

"We're exercising before it gets too hot and then we're gonna spend the rest of the day at our pool," Janet Kowalski said.

The Chicago Fire Department said they would have teams of bike paramedics patrolling the lakefront. Emily Petrosko planned to be playing sand volleyball, but she packed plenty of water and ice.

"I'll drink lots of water and just try to go in the shade every once in awhile," Petrosko said.

Pools were a popular option for many unable to make it to the lakefront, however, folks in a number of locations, including Berwyn, were disappointed to learn the pool they went to was closed because of state-mandated work on pumps and grates to reduce suction and increase safety.

Some people had to work on the holiday, including firefighters who had a tricky time putting out a small electrical fire in the South Loop. The heat actually caused the fire.

Also, a Coast Guard helicopter crew in Winnetka helped rescue two 14-year-old girls who were stranded in the lake for about an hour after being thrown from their jet ski. They were fortunate to be wearing life jackets.

Last year on Memorial Day, police shut down north avenue beach at around 5:30 p.m. after eight people suffered heat-related illnesses.

Anyone planning to be outside Monday was reminded to wear protective sunscreen and cool clothing and to drink lots of water.

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