Heat cuts July 3 crowds, hits a few hard in Wilmette
Updated: August 13, 2012 6:32AM
WILMETTE — The brutal heat wave that ushered July in this week probably lowered attendance at Wilmette’s Independence Day events, Wilmette Park District Director Steve Wilson said Thursday. Organizers took pains to provide those who did brave the triple digit temperatures with chances to cool off, he added.
Despite those extra steps – misters hoisted into Gillson Park trees, and a water curtain courtesy of a Wilmette Fire Department ladder truck – the heat took its toll.
Department paramedics had to transport one person to Evanston Hospital on July 3, during the holiday entertainment, and took a second person to the hospital on Wednesday, during the July 4 Fun Run, Fire Chief James Dominik said Thursday.
“On the fourth we also treated and released three others without having to take them to the hospital,” Dominik said.
Wilson praised fire department and police department personnel for helping make afternoon celebrations and the evening’s fireworks run smoothly. He also thanked Pace Bus personnel, “who did an outstanding job” in shuttling crowds to and from the lakefront.
His own staff prepared for the heat by tying up hoses kitted out with misting nozzles into park trees to provide a cloud of water for people needing to cool off.
Dominik’s men did the same with a ladder truck: “There’s a water curtain nozzle which is actually used normally to protect the (truck) when we’re fighting a fire. We set it up because it was so hot on the third, and the kids loved it. We had that going for hours, and we did it again on July 4th for the runners.”
Wilson said the park district doesn’t yet know how many people attended July 3 and 4 activities, “but just from my own personal observation, compared to last year we had a smaller crowd.
“In part that definitely had to do with the heat. But part of it also had to do with the fact that this year July 3 was a working day for a lot of people.”