North Ave. Beach Closed For Safety Concerns

Updated 5/30/2011 at 6:15 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago police closed North Avenue Beach early Monday evening for safety concerns after four people were transported to the hospital for heat exhaustion.

The announcement about the safety-related closure came over the public-address system shortly after 6 p.m., CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports. A firefighting crew sprayed crowds with a mist of water from a 2 1/2-inch hose as beach-goers made their way from the lakefront.

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Several ambulances were called to the beach about 5:30 p.m. after several people began feeling sick on the beach, Fire Media Affairs Dir. Larry Langford said. “They started falling down and were lightheaded,” he said.

One of the transported patients, an 18-year-old man, was unresponsive and taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition, Langford said. Three others were in stable condition, and a few other people declined medical attention, he said.

“They just started throwing us all off the beach — literally,” beachgoer Jennifer Epley said after police sent everyone home. “The cops were walking up and down, saying, ‘You need to get out of the water.’”

Earlier Monday, at least six people who attended Memorial Day parades in the Joliet area were taken to hospitals, suffering from heat exhaustion.

The beach closure capped a day of temperatures hovering around the 90-degree mark during the Memorial Day holiday.

Chicagoans headed to lakefront beaches in droves to get some relief from the heat.


By noon, it was hard to find even a few feet of empty space on the sand.

“It’s like a relief. It’s really just a relief because you know being in the city it’s so cold all winter and we’re all just pent up, and we’re all just been waiting and obviously we all came out,” said Braden Turner.

Asked what it was like to get her feat in the sand on a sunny day at the beach, after a long Chicago winter, beachgoer Shannon Serva said, “It’s fabulous, and just to have your toes done so people can see it is great.”

Samantha Kuebler said she hadn’t been waiting for Monday’s weather as long as everyone else at the beach, “because I love the winter. … Even the winter we just had. It was the best. It snowed all the time.”

Of course, she was in the minority on Monday. Many said they’ve been dreaming of the sand, sun, and surf for months and nothing was going to keep them away.

For some, not even an injury would stop them from hitting the beach.

Eben Hamilton’s crutches couldn’t keep him away from the lakefront.

“It’s a beautiful day. Finally, it’s a beautiful day,” he said.

Everywhere you looked, people were enjoying it, including plenty of people who took a dip in the lake to beat the heat – even though the water was still very cold. According to the Chicago Park District, the water temperature at Chicago beaches was only 53 degrees on Monday.

The hottest Memorial Days in Chicago were recorded in 1942 and 1953 when the mercury hit 93 degrees, National Weather Service meteorologist Charles Mott said. But so far Monday, the Chicago area has only reached a high of 87 degrees at O’Hare International Airport, he said.

Still, there’s no denying it’s hot. The heat index, how the temperature actually feels, was recorded at 92 degrees at Midway Airport at 2 p.m., the weather service said.

Only eight of the past 138 Memorial Days in Chicago have had high temperatures at or above 90 degrees, the weather service said.

The last time the temperature rose above 90 degrees on Memorial Day was 2006, when the high hit 91 degrees, according to the weather service. Other years that broke the 90-degree mark include 1994, 1988, 1978, 1953, 1944, 1942 and 1895.

Monday will also bring winds of 10 to 20 miles per hour, gusting occasionally to 25 or 30 miles per hour, and lows in the mid- to lower-70s, according to the weather service.

Tuesday will reach a balmy 88 degrees and there’s a 60 percent of showers, the weather service said.

(The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.)

  • Brian Burkhart

    People of Chicago…if you’re going to use our beaches…PLEASE, STOP LITTERING!!!! You are ruining are biggest asset and in case you forgot, we actually drink the water in the lake.

    I’m embarrassed to be a Chicagoan today after seeing all the litter, it’s got to stop.

    And finally, it’s illegal to possess alcohol at the beach. We saw thousands of beer cans and bottles, but about 4 police officers. What gives?

  • big herm

    they did not close the beaches because of the heat, they closed the beaches because of the mayhem at Oak Street Beach. ther were several hundred teens at Oak St. acting the fool and knocking people from their bicycles. There were two CPD officers on their bicycles trying to stop the mayhem, a male officer and a female officer, they were clearly outnumbered.

  • james Johnstone

    i would like to know the true reason the beach was closed. If the city pols think we swallowed the “heat” story they’re nuttier than I think they are. I really don’t expect this to be posted. It’s not PC.

  • ChicagoConcertman

    The Beach is where we go to cool off but the Police heated us up. I can at least lie better than “official lies”.
    This is your brain on north ave. beach [cut to frying eggs in pan sizzling on stove] See kids, our Hero’s can lie if its for our own good(or theirs). learn from the best.
    Get out of that 53 degree water and into our airconditioned Police trucks, there is chance of lightning on the beach someday.
    For the people really hurt, best wishes for recovery, and reminder to all, keep Hydrated!

  • zarathrusta

    “Human. All too human.”


    You all voted Mr. Emmanuel into office. What do you expect. He worked for a Socialist President…Barack Obama…now he’s following in the same footsteps. No plausible explanations, just “follow our orders”. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!

    • hugh jassol


  • gee-man

    Everyone who believes they closed down ONE beach along the whole lake front due to heat please raise your hand. It was closed due to a certain group of unAmerican youths/people/homies that do not work, do not go to school,will never work due to unending free government handouts. These “kids” will have the same momma’s crying on the news that their baby was getting ready to turn his life around after he is shot and killed due to gang violence or shooting at the police.

  • Seriously?

    Feet, to feat. Come on!

  • Larry

    I see martial law is alive and well in Chicago.

    I will say that I did drive by the lakefront around 5 p.m. Sunday, and it was absolutely insane how many people were on the beach. I’ve never seen that many people on Oak St. beach. And the bike path was definitely not in use at the time because there were too many people. It was the perfect storm of a holiday and the first real day of summer weather after a stretch of brutally chilly and rainy days for the season.

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  • Karen

    Insipid. The mayor is acting like he didn’t know it closed till this morning. That way he stays out of the frying pan I guess. Your insanely high tax dollars at work (or should I say NOT at work). Glad I moved to Texas, we still believe we live in America down here. Sad day for Chicago.

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  • Joe Public

    Once again, the same people making excuses as to the reason the city needs to be kept segregate, and the same reason they exterminate everyone who does not look like them. So it’s teens being bad, put them in jail, discipline them and stop making it about race!

    • bob

      It was black thugs. Just admit it Joe. It wasn’t Asians or Amish. It was black thugs. You do’t even know their ages, so don’t call them teens. I’m sure there were plenty in their 20’s.

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    […] The announcement about a safety-related closure came over the public-address system shortly after 6 … A firefighting crew sprayed crowds with a mist of water from a 2 1/2-inch hose as beach-goers made their way from the lakefront. In all, four people were rushed to area hospitals from the beach as a result of heat-related illness. One was even listed in critical condition. […]

  • hugh jassol

    Gang-bangers need to sty in their low rent home and off the public streets. New Law, any gang-banger arrested for felony, has their affiliation members as accessories to their felon. Low life idiots

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