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CPS And Firefighters Now Have Something In Common, Working In Extreme Heat

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Firefighters gather at the top of ladder truck 34 after firefighter Cory Ankum who was assigned to the truck perished in a fire at a one story building where fire officials say  a wall and part of the roof collapsed killing Ankum and fellow firefighter Edward Stringer, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010, in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Firefighters gather at the top of ladder truck 34 after firefighter Cory Ankum who was assigned to the truck perished in a fire at a one story building where fire officials say a wall and part of the roof collapsed killing Ankum and fellow firefighter Edward Stringer, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010, in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago firefighters faced a brutal blaze in brutal heat Tuesday night. It was the capper to a sweltering day for everyone in the city. CBS2’s Mike Parker reports.

It was a hot, raging 2 alarm fire in a courtyard style building in the 1100 block of North Mason on the far West side. There were worries that heat exhaustion might be a problem so dozens of backup firefighters were sent to the scene. Although it took an hour to knock the fire down, nobody collapsed from the heat. One firefighter suffered a shoulder injury. Eight residents were left homeless.

Nobody was seriously endangered either at Bucktown’s Burr School, but today it was like scores of other CPS schools across the city. The staff struggled to keep students cool with nothing more than window air conditioners in a few rooms and lots of open windows elsewhere.

Melanie Vizcarra is one of the students. She said, “Everybody’s so hot they can’t keep up with their work.”

CPS has sent out a Heat Emergency Action plan to principals. Among the orders, see to it that students and adults are kept well hydrated. Make sure water fountains work. Move classes to the coolest rooms if possible and keep air circulating by opening windows where practical.

Melanie’s mother does not think schools should be closed in the heat. “Education is more important,” she says. “I just wish that CPS would give us some air conditioners.”

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