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Neighborhood Hit Hard By ’95 Heat Wave Coping With This Week’s Hot Weather

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Willie Miller, 89, sits on her Austin porch during Monday's extreme heat and humidity. (CBS)

Willie Miller, 89, sits on her Austin porch during Monday’s extreme heat and humidity. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The front porch on Monday was the place to be for many in the Austin neighborhood, which was hard hit during the fatal heat wave of 1995.

“It is kind of a better breeze out here than I have in my room,” 53-year-old Charlie Daniels told CBS 2’s Mai Martinez.

For Daniels and his neighbors, the cool breeze provided some relief from the heat. Many living in the neighborhood don’t have air conditioning, so they opened windows and did their best to keep their homes cool.

 “It was just hot. Hot period,” 89-year-old Willie Miller said about conditions when she woke up Monday.

Miller survived the 1995 heat wave and says she’ll never forget it.

More than 700 people couldn’t cope and died from heat-related causes.

“I remember a lot of elderly people dying. A lot of times they don’t have anybody to come see about them,” Daniels said.

Shirley Jones remembers 1995, too. That’s why she decided to walk over to check on Miller.

“I love her, she’s a good friend of mine,” Jones said.  “You have to take care of the old people, make sure they are OK.”

Jones is making sure she herself stays safe, not leaving home without her water bottle which she had already filled up three times. 

The Chicago Fire Department saw an increase in calls Monday for heat-related medical issues.

The city is reminding people that cooling centers are open. Residents can call 3-1-1 to find a location and even get a ride to one if needed.

Officials also are asking people to check on their sick and elderly neighbors and call 3-1-1 if a well-being check is needed.

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