Heat blamed for train delays, postponed fireworks

June 29, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Dangerous, dry conditions have taken the spark out of the Fourth of July in Plainfield, which postponed fireworks because it's so dry.

The Plainfield Park District executive director said it's simply not safe and the July 30 show has been canceled.

"It just takes one spark," said park district director Gregory Bott. "And it is a commercial fireworks show. There are houses in the area. There is a school in the area. We just want to take every precaution possible and not put anybody risk."

Thursday night, just after thunderstorms and lightning rolled through the area, dozens of firefighters battled a fire at Chicago Heights business.

Police are investigating whether lightning struck "Geno's Goat Club," a fixture in the south suburb for more than 50 years.

Battling a fire in the intense heat proved too much for one Chicago firefighter who was sent to the hospital.

The heat was so severe, he got sick battling flames in the Little Village neighborhood.

The firefighter managed to climb into an ambulance on his own.

Fellow firefighters were forced to take much-needed water breaks to cool down. No one suffered any serious injuries here.

At Union Station, tempers heated up as Metra riders trying to get home Thursday night faced delays. Officials said the intense heat stressed the tracks and signals.

Severe storms provided a break from the heat. The rain was a welcome sight as temperatures cooled down just a bit.

Hail was spotted in some areas.

In south suburban Lansing, a viewer collected enough hail to fill a small tray. In northwest Indiana, hail was the size of golf balls.

Suburban residents seek refuge at public pools

Woodridge's Cypress Aquatic Park was packed to the gills Thursday with nearly 1,000 people seeking refuge as the poolside temp scraped 110 degrees.

Nilsa Ortiz-Jones described her game plan to ABC7.

"Stay in the water for as long as it's as hot as Hades out here," Ortiz-Jones said. "It's fantastic."

"This is the best place to be on a hot day," said Sharon Funk, Woodridge resident.

"I go to Canyon, Arizona, where it's 110-112 just like it is here. It's perfect. This is nothing to me. I enjoy this," said Rick Bogdan, Downers Grove resident.

Loyola's new Urgent Care facility in Burr Ridge was a cool and quiet place. Dr. Carolynn Zonia said these days most people know how to cope.

"We don't have the prolonged heat," said Dr. Zonia. "People seem to be smarter about getting out of the heat. We're checking on the elderly and getting people who need it to cooling centers."

There was no way to beat the heat for the kitchen staff at Smoke Daddy, where the cooker was set at 220 degrees and the ribs stay on for 14 hours.

"Trust me, people fill up. They eat this stuff 365 days a year!" said Carlo Carani, Smoke Daddy BBQ.

Extreme heat puts stress on air conditioning

"When I heard it was going be 100 degrees today, I said 'I'll never make it," said Rose Faciana, 91, of Hinsdale.

Faciana says her house is like an oven. The air conditioner stopped working Wednesday. The thermometer inside her home read 86 degrees on Thursday. She called for help.

"We're working 12-14 hours a day just to keep up with demand," said Andy Zemaitis, Four Seasons Heating & Air Conditioning.

Four Seasons techs will respond to 400-500 calls today: a 40-percent increase. He had some tips for what people should do.

"Annually get their air conditioning serviced. Change your filters monthly," said Zemaitis.

Rose Faciana and her grandson Alex are just starting to cool off. Their air conditioner is fixed.

"It's hot. I'm sweating," said Alex. Tips for keeping cool, safe in the summer
City of Chicago's Cooling Centers (PDF)

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