When it's 97 degrees out, most people try to get away from the heat. But when a fire started at the East Dundee Community Thrift Store Thursday afternoon, more than a dozen fire and police departments rushed to the scene.
The reason wasn't so much the fire but the conditions. "It was a big deal because of the heat," East Dundee Fire Chief Steve Schmitendorf said.
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The team set up rehab and hydration areas for firefighters to cool off in their heavy uniforms. "The guys can only work so long in this heat," Schmitendorf said. Carpentersville even sent a Pace bus to the scene to serve as a cooling station for the employees and the firefighters trying to get out of the heat.
The bus wasn't the only escape from heat, though. Many villages, police departments and park districts offered building lobbies as cooling centers.
Elgin Police Commander Glen Theriault said residents are welcome to come in and sit down in an air-conditioned lobby. He admitted lobbies are probably not as exciting as other air-conditioned places, and therefore, movie theaters, libraries and pools probably saw a rise in attendance. The Marcus Elgin Cinema on Randall Road proved Theriault right. Assistant Manager Paul Feitlich said the numbers were, indeed, up because of the heat.
The Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin also experienced a busier afternoon than usual. Library spokeswoman Denise Raleigh said more than 2,000 spent their afternoon in the cool building.
Easter Seals moved its outside scavenger hunt event into the library. Leaders Laura Spanel and Allison Schultz brought their group of boys to the library for the event. "It was nice that the library was welcoming to us," Spanel said.
Pools and splash parks and just about anywhere you could get wet was doing a booming business Thursday, which was the hottest day of the year so far but didn't surpass 100 as forecasters predicted.